In basic terms, the Jones Act provides protections for workers injured at sea because they do not enjoy workers’ compensation protections like other workers who are injured on-the-job. The Jones Act allows injured seaman to bring a claim against their employer when they have been injured while working at sea.
Jones Act protections apply to masters, captains, officers and crew members who spend at least 30 percent of their work time on a vessel in navigation. The definition of a vessel in navigation is a vessel that is afloat, operational or capable of moving on navigable waters. Employers of workers at sea are required to provide a reasonably safe workplace and, if they fail to do so, they may be liable for the damages an injured worker suffers.
An injured worker may be able to pursue a claim for maritime injuries if the captain or another employee was negligent and created unsafe working conditions that injured the worker. Examples of unsafe working conditions include insufficient training of the captain or crew; equipment that is poorly maintained; failure to provide crewmembers with the proper equipment; falls due to oil or other slippery substances on the ship; or assault from another crew member.
A claim for the injuries and harm suffered in a workplace accident at sea can help injured seamen with their medical expenses and other financial and emotional concerns. There are also other options that may be available depending on the circumstances that injured seamen should be familiar with and they should also be aware of the process to file a claim under the Jones Act for injuries and harm.