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Steven M. Lee, PC

Occupational Illness Jones Act Claims

The Jones Act covers long-term illness as well as traumatic injuries caused by maritime workWhen people think of filing a claim under the Jones Act, they tend to think about injuries that happen quickly and with no warning. However, not all Jones Act claims are for sudden, traumatic injuries. Some occupational illnesses can only become manifest over a long period of time, even when they are a direct result of an unsafe work environment.

Maritime Occupational Illnesses

Maritime work is a demanding occupation, with significant health and safety concerns. Dramatic changes in climatic conditions, long work hours, and dangerous materials all contribute to a perilous work environment. There are numerous common maritime occupational illnesses, including:

  • Hearing loss
  • Chemical poisoning
  • Staph infection
  • Lung disease
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Dermatitis
  • Neuropathy
  • Heart disease

Types of Benefits

Workers who become ill in the service of a vessel are entitled to benefits under the Jones Act, including maintenance, cure, and unearned wages:

  • Maintenance. This is a daily payment intended to cover the costs of room and board during recovery from an illness. Workers are entitled to receive these payments from the end of the voyage following the illness until maximum medical improvement has been achieved.
  • Medical cure. These are the medical costs related to an illness that began or was aggravated during a worker’s service of a vessel. The employer has a duty to promptly pay medical expenses until the illness reaches maximum medical improvement.
  • Unearned wages. This is the amount of money a worker would have earned had he remained on the vessel until the end of the voyage, end of the contract, or the end of the normal pay period. The employer should pay everything the worker would have earned had he not been ill while in service of the vessel.

You Need an Attorney

If you’ve suffered from a maritime occupational illness, you deserve compensation. You need an experienced attorney to help you collect the benefits you’re entitled to. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.


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