The Jones Act: Maritime Benefit Coverage and Eligibility
The Jones Act is a federal law that enables people who work on ships and vessels—maritime workers and seaman—to seek compensation if injured in the course of their employment. This compensation can cover medical bills, lost wages, ongoing expenses, and more. The law was passed to protect the hardworking men and women who take the extra risks that come with a job on the high seas.
The Jones Act covers many types of workers, including barge, cargo ship, and tugboat workers. However, there are also a substantial number of maritime workers who do not qualify for benefits under this law, due to their work status.
Seaman Coverage Qualifications
Although the Jones Act is a maritime law, it is limited in its coverage. Rather than allowing compensation benefits for everyone in the maritime industry, it only provides coverage for:
- Maritime workers who can legally claim seaman status.
- Seaman injuries that are sustained while working on a vessel in operation.
- Seaman accidents that occur as a direct result of the seaman performing his duties or contributing to the mission or function of the vessel.
The Jones Act is set up as a no-fault system. That means it is designed to provide compensation to workers who are injured in the course of their job on a boat or offshore rig anywhere at sea, no matter who may have been responsible. In other words—with a few exceptions—even if you were responsible for the incident that caused your injuries, you might still be eligible for compensation under the Jones Act as long as you meet the above coverage qualifications.
Maritime Injury Benefits for Non-Seaman
Maritime workers who cannot claim seaman status—harbor workers, port personnel, dry-dock technicians—cannot receive injury compensation under the Jones Act. However, these workers may have coverage under a similar law—the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
Maritime Negligence Benefits
If you believe that your injuries were caused by the negligence of another, such as your supervisor or employer, you may be able to bring a suit against them. This is important information as this type of negligence claim can be filed in addition to claims under the Jones Act or LHWCA. You can’t earn the same money twice, so to speak, but bringing a suit against the party that is responsible for your injuries may allow you to receive additional compensation.
An experienced maritime attorney can fully explain your options on how to get the money you deserve. Contact our office today at 713-921-4171 to schedule your FREE consultation, and see how we can help you during your maritime injury recovery.