Frequently Asked Questions about Jones Act Claims

by | Mar 22, 2023 | Offshore Accident, Uncategorized, Workplace Accident

If you are a seafarer that has been injured while working, you may have heard about the Jones Act. This federal law helps seafarers recover compensation for injuries sustained while working. However, you may have many questions about how the Jones Act works and what it can do for you.

In this article, the Jones Act lawyers at Kherkher Garcia discuss some of the most frequently asked questions about Jones Act claims. You will learn about what the Jones Act is, who is covered by it, what types of injuries it covers, and how to file a claim. We have also included some important considerations to keep in mind about Jones Act claims.

We hope this article will be helpful if you or a family member have a maritime injury. If you have additional questions, or want to speak with a lawyer about your individual case, please do not hesitate to call us at 713-333-1030.

FAQs about Jones Act Claims

Workers in the maritime industry are at a high risk for on-the-job injuries. Getting compensation for injuries can be a bit more complex given that seafaring occupations are not covered by the same protections as land-based workers’ compensation. That’s why maritime law exists. Maritime law provides maritime workers with protection and benefits after an injury due to the negligence of an employer, ship owner, co-worker, or other party.

One of the foremost laws that protects maritime workers is The Jones Act. Read on to learn more about this law and how you can get help.

Q: What is a Jones Act Claim?

A Jones Act claim is a type of legal action that seeks compensation for injuries sustained by a maritime worker due to the negligence of their employer, co-workers, or other third parties. The Jones Act is a federal law that provides protection to maritime workers. In order to file a claim, the worker must prove that the third party was negligent or that the vessel was unseaworthy.

Jones Act claims can provide compensation for a range of damages, including lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. If you are a maritime worker who has been injured on the job, it may be worth considering a Jones Act claim to seek the compensation and justice you deserve.

Q: Am I Covered by The Jones Act?

To be covered by the Jones Act, you must be a seaman whose work contributes to the function of a vessel or fleet of vessels. Unfortunately, land-based workers are generally not covered by the Act. If you are unsure whether you qualify for Jones Act coverage, it is advisable to consult with an experienced maritime injury lawyer.

Q: Who Is a “Seaman” Under the Jones Act?

Under the Jones Act, a “seaman” is an individual who spends a significant amount of time working on a vessel that is considered “in navigation.” This includes crew members, captains, and other workers who perform duties necessary for the vessel’s operation. To qualify as a seaman, an individual must have a connection to a specific vessel or fleet. Determining whether someone qualifies for Jones Act coverage can be complex and may require legal assistance.

Q: How Long do You Have to Claim Injuries Under The Jones Act?

Under the Jones Act, injured seamen have a three-year statute of limitations to file a claim. This starts from the date of the injury or the date the injury is discovered. It is crucial to file within this time frame, as failure to do so could result in a loss of legal rights. Every claim is different, and the statute of limitations may be different depending on the facts of your case.

Q: What is Jones Act Negligence?

Jones Act negligence is when an employer fails to provide a safe working environment for their maritime employees. This can include:

    • Inadequate equipment maintenance
    • Lack of proper crew training
    • Failure to follow safety protocols
    • Improper maintenance of a vessel
    • Lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Insufficient crew

Q: Do I Have to Prove Negligence?

Yes. To file a Jones Act claim, you must prove either negligence or unseaworthiness. Negligence refers to the failure of employers or co-workers to maintain a safe working environment or provide proper training. Alternatively, unseaworthiness refers to when vessels or equipment are defective or unsafe, posing risks to crewmembers.

Q: What Damages are Available Under The Jones Act?

Under the Jones Act, you may be able to pursue damages, such as:

    • Lost wages
    • Medical expenses
    • Pain and suffering
    • Future lost earning capacity
    • If a seaman dies, their family may be compensated for loss of support and services.
    • In cases of willful or wanton misconduct by the employer, punitive damages may also be awarded.

To determine what damages may be available in your specific case, it is important to consult with a lawyer who has experience with Jones Act claims.

Q: What is Maintenance and Cure?

Maintenance and cure is a compensation system that provides seafarers with living expenses and medical bills coverage in case of injury or illness. This coverage is applicable regardless of who is at fault. Coverage includes necessary medical treatment, hospitalization, and medication. Maintenance and cure benefits should continue until the seafarer reaches maximum medical improvement.

Employers who fail to provide maintenance and cure can face legal consequences under The Jones Act. It is an essential protection for seafarers and ensures they receive necessary care and support during times of injury or illness.

Q: What Should I do if I Suffer an Injury?

If you suffer an injury while working in the maritime industry, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Reporting your injury to your employer as soon as possible and keeping a record of medical treatments, expenses, and missed workdays is also crucial.

Q: My Employer Terminated my Employment after I Filed a Claim. Is that Legal?

No, it is not legal for employers to terminate employees for filing a Jones Act claim. Employees who feel discriminated against due to filing a claim can report this to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Employers are responsible for providing their employees with a safe working environment, which includes proper training and equipment.

If your employer terminated your employment after filing a Jones Act claim, consider consulting a lawyer or contacting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for assistance in protecting your rights.

Q: Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Jones Act Claim?

There is no legal requirement to have a lawyer when filing a Jones Act claim. However, it is highly recommended. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and guide you through the complex process of filing a claim. They can negotiate on your behalf and ensure your rights are protected – potentially increasing your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries.

Q: How Much is My Jones Act or Maritime Injury Case Worth?

Determining the exact value of your Jones Act or maritime injury case can be difficult without knowing the specific details of your case. The severity of your injury and the extent of damages can impact the case’s value. Every case is unique, and there is no guarantee of a specific outcome or settlement amount.

Q: How Much does it Cost to Start a Jones Act Claim?

The cost to start a Jones Act lawsuit claim can vary depending on the law firm you choose. However, most firms offer free consultations to determine the validity of the claim. Typically, Jones Act claims are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyer and/or law firm takes a percentage of the settlement or verdict.

At Kherkher Garcia, we operate on a contingency fee basis. We believe that injury victims deserve the opportunity to pursue compensation and justice, without additional financial stress. If we do not recover a verdict or settlement on your behalf, we do not collect fees from you.

Q: How Can Kherkher Garcia Help?

At Kherkher Garcia, our law firm specializes in Jones Act claims. We have more than 30 years of experience helping clients navigate this area of law. If you have a maritime injury, we can provide you with a free consultation to discuss your case and determine the best course of action. From there, we will handle all aspects of your claim, including gathering evidence and negotiating with your employer’s insurance company. Our goal is to ensure that you receive full compensation for your injuries and other damages, and we will work tirelessly to help you achieve that outcome.

Start Your Free Consultation

If you or a someone you love has been injured while working on a vessel and you believe there are grounds for a Jones Act claim, it is important to speak with a maritime injury lawyer who can answer your questions and guide you through the legal process.

With the help of a qualified law firm, you can determine the type of benefits available to you and file a claim that accurately reflects the damages you and your family have suffered. Schedule a free consultation with our Jones Act lawyers to learn more about your legal rights and options. Get started with your free consultation by calling Kherkher Garcia at 713-333-1030, or by completing our online form.



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Jesus Garcia

Jesus Garcia

Founding Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Founding Firm Partner Jesus Garcia. Jesus has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 20 years. He has won $150 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. He is a force of nature in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work or on the road. Abogado Jesus Garcia is bilingual and passionate about being the voice in the courtroom for the spanish speaking community here in Houston, across the state of Texas, and throughout the Nation.

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