“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S. I want it straight up, with no double talk. I figure 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
My Best Advice
When handling your Jones Act Case, you must always tell the truth. Nothing is more important then your credibility. If a judge assumes you are being dishonest, your case will be thrown out and you will be left with nothing. I have seen it happen to many people.
My Second Best Advice
Take the proper steps now, and do your research. 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].
This book is loaded with TONS of information on winning your Jones Act Case.
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Accidents at Sea
You can’t help worrying about a relative who works at sea. You know how dangerous the work is: the long hours, the potential for illnesses, the stories of crewmen falling overboard—it’s almost too much for a family at home to bear. Your only consolation is that if your loved one does suffer an accident, he will receive the best of care while you all recover together. But where can you turn if the worst happens: a seaman is badly injured and his employer refuses to pay for his medical bills?
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a special law that provides income and medical benefits to injured seamen. To qualify, a person must be employed on a vessel in navigation and contribute to that vessel’s mission. It does not matter if a worker is on the vessel or elsewhere when the accident takes place; as long as he was in the service of the ship when the injury occurred, he is protected by the Jones Act.
What Are the Worker’s Compensation Benefits of the Jones Act?
The first thing the Jones Act can do for an injured seaman is to provide worker’s comp benefits such as payment for medical bills and daily income supplements. Specifically, you should receive:
- Medical Care. Your employer is required to pay for any reasonable medical treatment for any conditions you suffer as a result of your service to your vessel. These benefits should continue until you have reached maximum medical stability.
- Maintenance. Injured seamen may receive a daily stipend while they are receiving medical care for an injury. In most cases, this amount is between 15 and 30 dollars a day, depending on the specifics of your case.
Does The Jones Act Allow Me to Sue My Employer?
In some cases, medical care and a small amount of daily income will not be enough to compensate an injured worker. That is what makes the Jones Act different from other worker’s compensation laws: it allows an employee to sue for damages if your injuries were caused by negligence.
Boats, platforms, and other vessels are notoriously less safe than typical working environments, The Jones Act says that any maritime employer has a special duty to provide a safe working environment for its employees, including:
- Maintaining the vessel to make sure it is in reasonably safe condition.
- Protecting its employees from any dangerous acts on behalf of the ship’s owners, captain, crew members, or other coworkers.
- Providing proper training to all employees and reinforcing safe work practices.
- Ensuring that the vessel is seaworthy.
- Keeping decks free of debris and clear of spills that can cause trip or fall hazards.
- Providing employees with the proper equipment (including safety devices) for them to perform their work.
- Assuming responsibility for assault on an employee by a coworker.
- Attempting to rescue a seaman who has fallen overboard or to search for a lost seaman for as long as he could reasonably be alive in the water.
In order to recover damages for negligence, a seaman must be able to show a clear breach of safety on behalf of his employer, and that the oversight resulted in the worker’s injury. Unlike regular worker’s compensation laws, the seaman needs to show only that employer negligence was somehow at fault for his injury, rather than directly and wholly responsible for the accident.
What Kinds of Damages Could I Be Awarded If I Win a Jones Act Case?
Damages awarded to injured seaman under the Jones Act are similar to those in a personal injury case, such as:
- Past lost wages and lost income opportunities
- Loss of earning capacity due to disability
- Past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disfigurement or deformity
- Interest charges, if payments were unnecessarily delayed
- Wrongful death, if the seaman was killed in the course of his duties
It is important to act quickly if you or a member of your family has been injured in a maritime accident. Under the provisions of the Jones Act, you must file a claim against your employer within three years from the date of your injury—otherwise, you could permanently lose your right to compensation.
We Have the Courage and Experience to Win Your Case
Attorney Bill Turley has been fighting for the rights of injured seamen for over 25 years. After taking his first job on a crab boat, he went to law school to ensure that maritime workers receive the protection they deserve, and he has been representing injured shipyard workers and longshoreman in California ever since. To find out how we have helped people just like you, click the case results tab at the top of this page or fill out the contact form on this page to get fast information on your case.
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