Q: How much time do I have to file a Jones Act claim?
The statute of limitations is three years for all Jones Act claims. There is no provision for delaying a claim.
Statute of Limitations
When a maritime accident occurs, workers need compensation to help them recover from their injuries. If employer negligence leads to a workplace injury, employees have the right to pursue compensation through a lawsuit. There is a statute of limitations on these claims, which requires the filing of a lawsuit within three years of the date of injury or death.
Purpose of the Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is imposed on claimants in order to ensure that any evidence presented in their case is as timely and accurate as possible. As time progresses, witnesses are likely to forget crucial details about the accident, and important evidence may be lost or destroyed. This time limit also provides defendants with greater peace of mind, since they won’t be under the threat of a lawsuit forever. If there were no statute of limitations, a worker injured decades ago could still file a lawsuit, even though he had no interest in pursuing a claim when the injury occurred.
Tolling the Statute of Limitations
Unlike employees protected by some mainland workers’ compensation programs, workers qualified to file a Jones Act claim cannot toll the statute of limitations. While certain conditions such as the plaintiff’s age or bankruptcy can sometimes delay the statute of limitations, there is no such provision with respect to the Jones Act. A strict three-year statute of limitations may seem harsh, but it was imposed in order to ensure a uniform limitation period for maritime torts.
Pursuing a Jones Act Claim
If you’ve suffered maritime injuries and you qualify to pursue a claim under the Jones Act, it’s critical that you proceed with your lawsuit in a timely fashion. You need representation by an experienced maritime attorney in order to ensure that your rights are protected. To discuss your claim, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.