“We give you answers to your Jones Act Case questions in simple, easy to understand English, that everyone can understand. No legal mumbo-jumbo, lawyer talk.” -Bill Turley
Number One Rule with Handling Your Jones Act Case
No Matter the circumstances, you must always tell the truth about your injury. Your credibility with the judge depends on the way you and your attorney represent your Jones Act Case. If a judge thinks your are not telling the truth, your case will be thrown out. I have seen it happen to many folks in court. Do not fall for the traps that the insurance companies lay out for you. They get paid for the claims that get thrown out. Always tell the truth. Always.
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Working aboard ship is inherently dangerous, and seamen must consciously avoid accidents each moment they are on the job. While employers cannot be expected to prevent all types of injuries, they have a duty to equip ships with a reasonable number of safety devices to protect workers.
Jones Act employers may be found liable for negligence due to safety violations involving:
- Defective materials. It is not enough to provide safety equipment—the equipment must function properly in order to prevent injuries. Old or malfunctioning tools, worn planks and safety lines, and other broken devices can put seamen at unnecessary risk.
- Fire extinguishers. Ship owners have a duty to provide an adequate number of fire extinguishers and must ensure that fire safety devices are tested regularly. Ships may also require fire axes, blankets, and other suppression devices within easy reach of all crew members.
- Protective equipment. Seamen may be asked to perform hard labor, maintenance duties, repair, and other activities in the course of their day. Just because seamen are used to working in a high-risk environment does not mean ship owners do not have to provide protective equipment. Many seamen have suffered eye injuries due to lack of safety goggles, breathing problems due to inadequate masks or respirators, and hearing loss as a result of working in loud environments without ear protection.
- Guards. Vessels are required to have a number of safeguards to prevent serious or fatal injuries, including deck rails, machine guards on appliances and equipment, screens on fans and turbines, and proper warning signs in high-risk areas.
Am I Owed More Than Maintenance and Cure?
Any injured Jones Act worker has a right to collect the costs of medical treatment and lost wages from his employer as he recovers. However, workers who file a negligence case can receive additional funds from the ship owner—especially if the violation has caused lifelong injuries. If your case involves faulty protective or safety equipment, you should speak to a maritime injury attorney as soon as possible to find out how much you could be owed.