“We give you an insider's view of Jones Act Seaman Law. We don’t sugar coat it for you. Here, we give it to you straight. No lawyer talk, no double talk. Just good old fashioned, unsweetened truth.” Jones Act Lawyer - Bill Turley
The First Step
If you are an injured seaman, you have rights to be protected under the Longshore Jones Act. The first thing after you are injured is that you should always tell the truth. Nothing is more important than your credibility with the judge and your lawyer. No matter what type of injury or how you were injured, you should never sugarcoat or exaggerate anything.
The best thing you can do before you go to court is research as much information as you can about your Jones Act Case. I have handled these types of cases since the 1980's. I have gained valuable and helpful knowledge with these cases. Order my Free book, Win Your Injury Case. It is full of useful and helpful information on how to handle your Jones Act Case from beginning to end.
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Comparative Fault In Jones Act Personal Injury Lawsuits
Contributory negligence is negligence by you - - the injured Jones Act Seaman that is bringing the Jones Act lawsuit. Which usually means that your injury occurred on navigable waters. Say, a cruise ship slip and fall, an engine room injury while lifting heavy equipment, or falling down a ladder with worn non-skid.
In many instances, juries and Judges find that the injured person was partly at fault for causing their injuries. This is called "contributory negligence." You should know how your being partly negligent will affect your recovery.
Under general maritime law, contributory negligence does not wholly bar you (read: an injured Seaman) from recovery. Contributory negligence is instead considered in mitigation of damages. The general rule is that contributory negligence is not a complete bar to recovery but it does operate to reduce the amount of the damage awarded.
The Contributory Negligence Defense - They Have To Prove You Did Something Wrong
The defense of contributory negligence requires evidence of some negligent act by the you. The question is whether you (read: the plaintiff) created an "unreasonable" risk of injury to yourself. A seaman is obligated under the Jones Act to act with ordinary prudence under the circumstances." The standard that you (read: the plaintiff) are held to is one of a reasonable seaman, in like circumstances. Similarly a cruise ship passenger or a boater is also obligated to act with reasonable care under the circumstances.
The Defendant has the burden of proving you were negligent and that your negligence was a cause of your injuries.
But What If The State Law Where My Lawsuit Is Filed Says If You Are At Fault - You Can't Recover
Some states (Virginia for example) don't allow Plaintiffs to recover if they were contributorily negligent. Significantly, state law cannot deprive you of this admiralty principle.
Bringing an admiralty personal injury lawsuit means that admiralty law will dictate your case. Admiralty law is comprised of statutes, and what is called general maritime law. Even if you bring your admiralty case in State court (which is oftentimes advisable for many different reasons), admiralty law will be applied to your case.
Disclaimer: Please understand these are discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion 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