Go to navigation Go to content
Phone: 619-304-1000
The Turley Law Firm P.C.

What To Do If You Have A Jones Act Injury

Find answers to your questions about the Jones Act, DBA, California workers’ compensation, or employment law. If you have more questions, contact us.

  • Page 1
  • Can I file a Jones Act injury claim if I was assaulted onboard?

    Yes.

    A Jones Act seaman is guaranteed maintenance and cure payments for any injury sustained on the job, including assault. It doesn’t matter if you were attacked by another crew member, a passenger, or a trespasser on the vessel—you have a right to pursue a Jones Act case for injuries caused by assault, including:

    • Fights between crew members
    • An attack involving a gun, knife, or other weapons
    • Receiving a blow or gunshot during a theft or burglary
    • Injuries caused by intoxicated crew members or passengers
    • Attacks by crew members who are mentally unstable or have criminal backgrounds
    • Sexual assaults

    Since the consequences of physical and sexual assault can be devastating, it is important that seamen know their rights when filing for compensation. These attacks can cause physical injuries that result in scarring and disfigurement, and emotional injuries that take a toll on the victim’s mental health. If the victim cannot return to work due to the stresses of injury, he or she may be able to collect permanent disability benefits from his or her employer.

    What to Do if Your Assault Was Caused by Jones Act Negligence

    It is also important to consider why the assault occurred, and if the employer or ship owner could be held liable for the attack. While an employer cannot be held responsible for every crew member’s actions, the employer should take precautions to prevent personal attacks from happening. This could mean performing adequate background checks on crew members, performing drug and alcohol testing, screening new hires for mental health issues, and investigating any history of prior violence or aggressive behavior. An employer can also be held liable for lax security that made it easier to carry out the attack, such as poor lighting in corridors or broken locks on entrances to sleeping quarters.

    If your employer knowingly hired a crew member with a history of violence, you may be able to collect compensation through a Jones Act negligence claim. Please feel free to use our website to learn more about negligence claims, as well as collecting permanent disability for the effects of your injury.

     

    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call. 619-304-1000

     

    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. 

  • Am I allowed to collect Social Security disability and Jones Act benefits at the same time?

    Yes.

    Under the conditions of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA), injured seamen are not prohibited from collecting multiple types of injury payments. However, your total benefit payments can be reduced if you collect many different types of coverage.

    Injured Jones Act seamen should be wary of the following rules regarding collecting many types of injury and disability payments:

    Receiving State Workers’ Compensation Benefits:

    Eligible employees can collect both state workers' compensation payments and Jones Act payments, although any amount you receive from the state will be deducted from the amount your employer owes you. In these cases, injured sailors are allowed to collect the higher of the weekly compensation rates offered by the two systems. In addition, some states do not allow concurrent collection of workers’ compensation and LHWCA benefits, so the amount you receive can vary depending on where your case is heard.

    Social Security Reductions:

    Seamen who qualify for Social Security Administration (SSA) and Jones Act benefits can collect them at the same time for the same injury. However, the amount you receive from the SSA will likely be reduced as a result of collecting multiple payments, and you are required to notify the SSA if you receive multiple types of workers’ compensation.

    Income Tax:

    The IRS requires injured workers to report all of the funds received through various workers' compensation programs on their yearly tax returns. Although you are required to declare these payments, the IRS exempts your injury or survivors' benefits from taxation if they were paid through a federal or state workers' compensation program.

     

    A Jones Act Case May Be Your Best Option

    If you are receiving multiple types of injury benefits in an attempt to make ends meet, you should investigate whether your injury could have been caused by unsafe working conditions. The Jones Act allows seamen to sue ship owners for negligence, including employee mistakes and poor vessel maintenance. To find out if you could be owed more than your maintenance and cure payments, please use our website to learn more about negligence claims.

     

     

  • How is a vessel defined under Jones Act law?

    Any American Owned Watercraft That Can be Used to Transport Goods or Passengers can be Considered a Jones Act Vessel.

    The Jones Act offers legal protection for maritime workers who are injured while in service to a Jones Act vessel. Among the most important of Jones Act protections is the right to directly sue an employer when injuries are caused by the employer’s negligence. Other workers do not have this right.

    To qualify as a Jones Act vessel, a vessel must be owned by an American individual or company.  For a maritime worker to be considered a Jones Act seaman, he must be the master or a member of a Jones Act vessel’s crew. How do you know if you work on a Jones Act vessel?

    There are many ways to work on the water. While it is easy to recognize a cruise ship or barge as being a vessel, it is harder to decide if an offshore drilling rig or floating dormitory meets that definition.   

    In 2005, the Supreme Court (Stewart v. Dutra Construction) determined that under the Jones Act, the definition of vessel may include “every description of Watercraft or other artificial contrivance used or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.”  This means that any watercraft that can be used to transport goods or passengers can be considered a Jones Act Vessel.

    Under this definition, it is easy to recognize cargo ships, supply boats, tankers, freighters, fishing boats, ferries, cruise ships, tugboats, and barges as vessels. But offshore drilling units, jack-up rigs, semi-submersible rigs, dredges, docks, and floating work platforms may also be considered vessels under some circumstances.

    The definition of a Jones Act vessel can be a deciding factor in determining the outcome of a Jones Act injury case. If you have any questions about whether you qualify for Jones Act protection, contact a California maritime lawyer.

     

     

    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call. 619-304-1000 

     

    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.

  • What is meant by the term “navigable waters” when discussing Jones Act Law?

     

    The Jones Act covers any maritime worker or employee who spends more than 30 percent of his time in the service of a Jones Act vessel on a navigable waterway. In the past, federal courts have interpreted the term “navigable waterways” to include almost any large body of water. The Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are considered navigable waterways, but so are California’s harbors, rivers and inland lakes.  

     

    Here is a list of navigable bodies of water in California:  

    • Pacific Ocean
    • San Francisco Bay
    • San Pedro Bay
    • Bodega Bay
    • Half Moon Bay
    • San Pablo Bay
    • Suisun Bay
    • Port of San Diego
    • Port of Los Angeles
    • Port of San Francisco
    • Port of Oakland
    • Port Hueneme
    • Port of Stockton
    • Port San Luis
    • Port of Redwood City
    • Port of Richmond
    • Port of West Sacramento
    • Port of Long Beach
    • Stockton Channel
    • Humboldt Bay Harbor
    • Oceanside Harbor
    • Newport Harbor
    • Santa Barbara Harbor
    • Morro Bay Harbor
    • Channel Islands Harbor
    • Dana Point Harbor
    • Avalon Harbor
    • Pillar Point Harbor
    • Santa Cruz Harbor
    • Moss Landing Harbor
    • Crescent City Harbor
    • Clipper Yacht Harbor
    • Marina del Rey Harbor
    • Ventura Harbor
    • Noyo Harbor
    • Wilmington Harbor
    • Santa Cruz
    • Alcatraz Wharf
    • Berkeley Marina
    • Sausalito Marina
    • Vallejo Marina
    • Porto Bodega Marina
    • Point Area Cove
    • Sacramento River
    • San Joaquin River
    • Colorado River
    • Klamath River
    • Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
    • Lake Tahoe
    • Mono Lake
    • Clear Lake
    • Lake Shasta
    • Lake Almanor
    • Lake Havasu
    • Lake Oroville
    • Trinity Lake
    • San Luis Reservoir

    Working on the water is very dangerous. Seamen face many of the same risks as land based workers: overexertion, repetitive motion injuries, slip-and-fall accidents, and dangers from falling objects. They also face unique risks. The Jones Act is a federal law that protects those who work on the water if they are injured while working. Unlike workers’ compensation, the Jones Act allows maritime workers to take action against negligent employers.

    If you have been injured while working on a passenger ship, cargo ship, oil tanker, tugboat, oil rig, fishing boat, barge, ferry, tour boat, or any other vessel that regularly travels the waters of California, you may be covered under Jones Act Law.