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The Truth About Filing a Jones Act Unseaworthiness Claim

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“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S. I want it straight up, with no double talk. I figure you do also. I always use plain English, with no sugarcoating, no B.S. lawyer talk, and no double talk-just old fashioned, unsweetened, unvarnished truth-just the way that I would want it.” - Bill Turley

Jones Act Attorney Injured Seaman Lawyer

The First Step

The first thing I recommend with all my Jones Act Clients, is no matter what, always tell the truth. Never exaggerate your injury. If you are not honest, then the Judge will throw out your Jones Act Case.

Bank on it. I have seen it many times in court. And the one thing I do not like to see, is hard working folks like yourself, ripped off.

The Next Step

The second thing I recommend is to do the proper research with your Jones Act Case. Order my free book, Win Your Injury Case: The Ultimate No B.S. Guide To Avoiding Insurance Company Tricks That Ruin Your Case [even before you hire a lawyer].

What Does "Unseaworthy" Mean?

As a Jones Act seaman, you have probably heard the term unseaworthy before. Many sailors assume they would know unseaworthy conditions when they see them, only to be told that their ships were entirely fit for duty. So what exactly does it mean for a ship to be “unseaworthy,” and when can seamen file a claim for injuries due to an unfit ship or crew?

Was Your Vessel Seaworthy At the Time of Your Injury?

Despite the name, a ship does not have to be non-functioning or unable to sail or be navigated to be unseaworthy. The term applies if the ship is not a safe place for a seaman to perform his regular duties, or a place where reasonably safe and suitable appliances have not been furnished to the crew.

In a Jones Act claim, a ship can be unseaworthy if there is a problem with any of the following aspects of the vessel:

  • Design. A ship can be unseaworthy even before it is constructed. A flawed design can mean structural problems in the hull, decks, engines, and support structures of the ship that can make injury to crew members unnecessarily likely.
  • Maintenance. Equipment that is outdated or in disrepair will not only suffer in performance, it can also increase the risk of an accident aboard ship. Winches, cranes, pumps, ladders, and even simple hand tools should be inspected regularly and repaired or replaced if they are no longer able to do their jobs safely.
  • Character. Even if the hull and equipment on the vessel is adequate, seamen can still be injured by the humans who are in control of it. The character on the ship may be the captain, crew members, and even the policies governing activities onboard—and if these result in injury, they can give rise to an unseaworthiness claim.

While many claims for Jones Act compensation are filed against the seaman’s employer, an unseaworthiness claim is filed against the vessel’s owner. This could be the same parent company, or an entirely different entity than the seaman’s regular employer. If you think you may have a Jones Act claim, please feel free to research your case using our website as your resource.

Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

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