Can You File a Jones Act Claim for a Repetitive Stress Injury?

Offshore Injuries Jun 9, 2022

In many maritime and offshore occupations, workers perform the same repetitive movements day in and day out. Whether you are a welder, you operate a shrimp net, you clean barges, or you are an engineer or able seaman, there is a good chance that your job entails repeating the same motions on a daily basis. This type of repetitive stress frequently leads to injuries, and maritime workers who suffer these injuries often face expensive medical bills and missed time from work. If you have a repetitive stress injury, can you file a claim under the Jones Act? Alabama offshore injury attorney David Willis explains.

The Jones Act Covers Repetitive Stress Injuries

The Jones Act covers all types of job-related injuries. This includes injuries caused by repetitive stress.  While most people think of job-related injuries as those caused by accidents (i.e., slips, falls, collisions, and falls overboard), repetitive stress injuries are actually among the most common types of injuries resulting in days missed from work.

A key aspect of the Jones Act is that it covers qualifying maritime workers’ injuries regardless of how they got injured (with only very limited exceptions). This means you do not need to prove your employer is responsible in order to file for Jones Act benefits. While employers are responsible for workers’ injuries in many cases, proof of fault isn’t necessary; and if you can prove that your employer is responsible, then you can seek additional compensation for Jones Act negligence.

So, if you qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act and you have suffered a repetitive stress injury on the job, there is a good chance that you are minimally entitled to maintenance and cure benefits. This is true for all types of repetitive stress injuries, including:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • De Quervain’s syndrome
  • Lateral or medial epicondylitis
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Stenosing tenosynovitis
  • Tendinosis or tendonitis

Lifting, bending, twisting, operating winches and windlasses, operating machinery, using hand tools and power tools, using computers, and captaining vessels are all common causes of maritime repetitive stress injuries. With that said, if you are suffering from pain that you believe is the result of any form of work-related repetitive stress, you should see a doctor and consult with an Alabama offshore injury attorney right away.

Challenges with Filing a Jones Act Claim for a Repetitive Stress Injury

While the Jones Act covers maritime and offshore repetitive stress injuries, filing a successful claim for a repetitive stress injury can be challenging. Obtaining compensation under the Jones Act is challenging generally, but repetitive stress injury claims involve unique issues that can make it even more difficult to collect the benefits you deserve.

With this in mind, it is extremely important to hire an experienced Alabama offshore injury attorney to represent you. An experienced attorney will be familiar with the insurance companies’ defense tactics and will be able to use his or her knowledge to help you assert your legal rights effectively. This includes helping you overcome common challenges such as:

  • Proving that Your Repetitive Stress is Work-Related – One challenge you may face is proving that your repetitive stress injury is work-related. When maritime and offshore workers file Jones Act claims for repetitive stress injuries, insurance companies often try to avoid paying by claiming that workers can’t prove their injuries are the result of repetitive stress on the job.
  • Proving that You Filed Your Jones Act Claim On Time – Jones Act claims are subject to strict deadlines. Since many repetitive stress injuries develop gradually over time, in some cases workers can face challenges with proving that they didn’t wait too long to file for benefits.
  • Proving Jones Act Negligence (if Applicable) – From failing to provide a safe work environment to failing to adequately maintain tools and equipment, various forms of employer negligence can put maritime and offshore workers at heightened risk for repetitive stress injuries. If your attorney can make a claim for negligence, then your attorney will be able to help you seek additional compensation.
  • Proving that Your Medical Bills are for Treatment of Your Repetitive Stress Injury – Maritime and offshore workers can also face challenges with proving that their medical bills should be covered under the Jones Act. In many cases, insurance companies will try to deny payment by claiming that workers’ conditions are pre-existing or that they have not adequately cared for their repetitive stress injuries.

Compensation Available Under the Jones Act for Repetitive Stress Injuries

If you have a Jones Act claim for a repetitive stress injury, the compensation available to you depends on the severity of your injury and various other factors. Generally speaking; however, the types of compensation available under the Jones Act include:

  • Maintenance Benefits – These “no-fault” benefits provide partial coverage for your lost wages while you are unable to work due to your repetitive stress injury.
  • Cure Benefits – These “no fault” benefits cover the cost of treating your repetitive stress injury until you have fully recovered or reached your maximum medical improvement.
  • Jones Act Negligence Compensation – If you have a claim for Jones Act negligence, your attorney can help you seek full compensation for your lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Repetitive stress injuries can be painful, treatment can be expensive, and recovery can be a lengthy process. If you are entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, you owe it to yourself to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. An experienced Alabama offshore injury attorney can help, and you can get started with a free consultation 24/7.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with an Alabama Offshore Injury Attorney Today

If you would like to know more about your rights under the Jones Act for a repetitive stress injury you suffered on the job, we invite you to schedule a free consultation at Willis Law Firm. To speak with an Alabama offshore injury attorney in confidence as soon as possible, call 800-468-4878 or contact us online now. 

Willis Law Firm, Offshore & Maritime Lawyer
Nationwide Help - Licensed in Texas and New York
Principal Office
5005 Riverway Drive
Suite #160

Houston, Texas 77056

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1717 Turning Basin Dr.
Suite #232

Houston, Texas 77029

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