Time is Running Out on Your Jones Act Benefits
Almost every legal claim has a statute of limitation which sets a strict time limit for filing your lawsuit. If you wait too long and don’t file your suit within the period of time specified in the statute, you will be barred from filing your claim. This means when you are injured, it is very important to seek legal advice as quickly as possible. While you may be in pain and confused about what to do, you need to make sure you have an experienced legal professional on your side who will take the appropriate steps to protect your legal rights. For injured seamen and maritime workers, it’s critical to pay attention to the Jones Act statute of limitations.
What is the Jones Act Statute of Limitations?
Under the Jones Act statute, injured “seamen” have the right to sue their employers for negligence. A “seaman” is an individual who spends a significant amount time (generally 30% or more of his or her working hours) working on a vessel that is in navigation as a crew member, officer or captain. If you are seaman who has been injured, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of your injury.
It is important to note that there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you were in a maritime accident or had a exposure of asbestos dust or benzene but did not actually discover your injury until a later date, the statutory time period will be extended to run three years from the date you first become aware of your injury. Additionally, if you are a seaman who is assigned to a vessel owned, operated or contracted by the United States government, you may have a shorter period of time to file your case.
Willis Law Firm can explain how the Jones Act statute of limitations applies to your specific situation. It is extremely important that you talk to an attorney so that the exact dates of your accident, injury and the correct filing deadlines can be discussed at length and no filing deadline missed due to the many different and confusing Federal and State laws that can apply, including some deadlines to file an action within only one year from the date of the injury. Do not delay in contacting our firm – if you fail to take appropriate legal action before the statutory period runs out, you will not be permitted to file a Jones Act claim to recover compensation from your employer.
General Maritime Laws – Statute of Limitations
In most instances, workers and other individuals who are injured general maritime accidents will have a three year period in which to file a personal injury lawsuit against the parties responsible for their injuries. For instance, if you are looking to take legal action against the owner of a ship under the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness, or planning to sue a third party company such as a manufacturer or supplier under general maritime laws, you will typically only have three years from the date of your accident to file your negligence claim. It is important to understand that there may be certain exceptions to the statute of limitations and other situations where the time limits are shorter, so it is very important to check with a maritime lawyer to ensure you do not forfeit your right to file a claim.
OCSLA – Statute of Limitations
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) provides protections to maritime workers who are injured while working on the Outer Continental Shelf. Under the OCSLA, when a worker is involved in an accident on the Outer Continental Shelf, the accident will fall under the jurisdiction of the “closest adjacent state.” This means that a claim for OCSLA benefits will be governed by the statute of limitations of the nearest state from where the accident occurred. For example, if the closest adjacent state is Louisiana, you will only have one year to file your claim because the statute of limitations in Louisiana is one year.
Other Legal Actions – Statute of Limitations
Workers and other individuals who are injured on or near the water may be able to file legal claims under additional federal and state laws. For instance, depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to file a state workers’ compensation claim or general negligence lawsuits. The time limit for filing these types of claims will be governed by state specific statutes of limitation. This means when you are in an accident it is critical for you to consult with an experienced injury attorney who can take the appropriate steps to protect your legal rights.
Don’t Let the Jones Act Statute of Limitations Expire! Contact an Attorney at Willis Law Firm
It is important to remember that when you are injured working on a ship or a vessel, you need to fill out an accident report immediately after the accident or before you leave the ship. An accident report is the official documentation of your accident. You should not sign or file any other documents until you to talk with an attorney who can make sure that your rights are fully protected. Willis Law Firm is here to answer your questions and help you 24/7. Do not delay – contact us today at 1-800-468-4878 to schedule your free, confidential consultation. You can also connect with us online.