Jones Act Provisions

Massachusetts Jones Act Lawyers

Were you injured in an offshore accident?   If you were employed to work aboard a vessel as a seaman, crewman, or commercial fisherman, you are protected by a federal maritime law called the Jones Act.  Under the Jones Act, crewmen aboard ships, boats, barges, tug boats, commercial fishing vessels, cruise ships, tour boats, and tankers, in navigable waters at sea, in rivers, lakes, bays, and sounds, are entitled to compensation from their employer if they are injured on the job.  In cases where a crewman has been killed, their families may also be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act.

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The Massachusetts Jones Act lawyers at Gilman Law LLP have extensive experience handling maritime injury cases, and have successfully assisted crewmen and their families with Jones Act claims.  With the Massachusetts Jones Act lawyers at Gilman Law LLP on your side, you stand the best possible chance of obtaining all of the compensation you need to cover your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages.

Jones Act Maintenance and Cure Claims

The Jones Act, known more formally as the U.S. Merchant Marine Act of 1920, acts as a type of workers compensation for workers on commercial vessels.  However, it generally allows for greater compensation to an injured worker than State Workers Compensation Acts or the Longshore Harbor Worker Act.  The Jones Act entitles injured seaman to maintenance and cure regardless of who’s at fault. Maintenance is a daily allowance to cover the cost of basic necessities, such as food and shelter. Cure is the medical care that the employer must provide until the worker reaches maximum medical improvement. Injured seamen are also entitled to unearned wages until the end of the voyage

Under the Jones Act, the captain and mate in the wheelhouse,  deckhands, wipers, housekeepers, engineers, fish processors, cooks and anyone else working aboard a vessel is entitled to compensation if they are injured on the job. To be considered a seaman under the Jones Act, a worker must be employed in a capacity that contributes to the mission of the vessel, its operation or maintenance, and do ship’s work. This includes times while the vessel is at anchor, or preparing for future trips.  Workers eligible for Jones Act compensation do not have to be employed in work that involves the navigational activities of the ship.  Even cruise ship entertainers are eligible for compensation should they become injured on the job.

Jones Act Negligence Claims

Under the Jones Act, the vessel owner/employer must pay compensation to his crewmen when his negligence is a cause of the crewman’s injury. An injured seaman is also entitled to recover damages from his employer where he is injured from the negligence of a fellow crewman. Slight negligence is enough to establish legal causation under the Jones Act.  If the negligence of the employer aggravates a preexisting medical condition in a seaman, under the Jones Act the employer is liable for the increase in damages.

The Jones Act even provides protection for crewmen injured ashore – on docks and wharves – if they are injured due to an employer’s negligence. If the seaman is in the scope of his employment, doing duties that aid the vessel, the seaman is still covered by the Jones Act.

Jones Act Unseaworthiness Claims

Injured seaman can also bring unseaworthiness claims under the Jones Act against the owner of a vessel.  A vessel is unseaworthy if it, its equipment, or its crew are not reasonably fit for their intended purpose. An unseaworthiness claim may arise if a condition of the vessel was unsafe, the vessel contained defective or unsafe equipment, or the crew was not adequately trained. The vessel owner need not have prior knowledge of the defective condition in order to file an unseaworthy claim under the Jones Act.

Legal Help with Jones Act Claims

If you were injured in a maritime accident, the Jones Act requires that you file personal injury and death actions within 3 years after the cause of action arose.  To increase your odds of obtaining the full compensation the law allows, it’s vital you contact the experienced Massachusetts Jones Act lawyers at Gilman Law LLP today.  With offices throughout Massachusetts, the personal injury attorneys at Gilman Law LLP are available now to answer all of your Jones Act questions.  Please complete our online form or contact Gilman Law LLP at (888) 252-0084 for your free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our Jones Act attorneys today.