Over 80 Combined Years Of Maritime Law Experience

Six facts to know going into your Jones Act case

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Jones Act

When you’re injured at sea, you need compensation to offset your medical expenses and your lost wages. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to make ends meet, which could put you at risk of problems such as foreclosure, eviction, or repossession.

Fortunately, you can avoid those drastic outcomes by aggressively pursuing a Jones Act claim. As you begin navigating the legal process, though, you need to be aware of a few things that can have a profound impact on your case. That’s why in this post we want to highlight those issues for you so that you’re more prepared going into your case.

What to know before filing a Jones Act claim

Preparation is key in the legal arena. Therefore, before acting on your Jones Act claim, you need to understand the following:

  1. You have to prove that you’re a “seaman”: To be considered a “seaman” for purposes of the Jones Act, you have to show that you spend a significant period of time onboard a vessel that’s in navigation, meaning that the vessel is afloat, in operation, capable of moving, and is in navigable waters. Typically, you must show that your time on the vessel isn’t temporary or sporadic, and your contributions have to help the vessel accomplish its mission. If you can’t meet these requirements, then you’ll likely be denied financial support through the Jones Act.
  2. Your maintenance and cure benefits might be challenged: Even though you don’t have to prove fault to recover benefits for your daily living and medical expenses, your employer might still challenge your ability to recover them. In many instances, employers do so when they think you’re fit to return to work, which thrusts you medical condition to the forefront of your claim.
  3. You’ll need evidence to prove your case: To succeed on your Jones Act claim, you’ll need to be able to show where your workplace accident occurred, when it occurred, and how it occurred. By gathering and presenting this evidence, you put yourself in a stronger position to recover maintenance and cure benefits, but you might also put yourself on a path to recovering other compensation, too.
  4. You have to report your injury quickly: Under the Jones Act, you only have seven days to report your injuries to your employer. So, you’ll need to move quickly after your accident to preserve your claim.
  5. You should focus on negligence or unseaworthiness to expand your claim: Maintenance and cure can help you get by while you focus on your recovery, but you might need additional compensation to recover what you’re truly owed. To recover these additional losses, you’ll need to be prepared to address negligence and/or unseaworthiness in your case.
  6. You can find support: Navigating a Jones Act claim can be stressful. After all, you’re trying to focus on recovering your health and paying your bills. Adding legal action into the mix can leave you feeling overwhelmed. But you can find support throughout the process from your attorney, who can help you navigate the legal challenges you’ll face, as well as family members, friends, and mental health professionals.

Don’t leave your Jones Act claim to chance

You need your Jones Act claim to be successful. The good news is that there are steps you can take now to start positioning yourself for success. Doing so could give you peace of mind and confidence that you can successfully advocate for the compensation that you deserve.