There is nothing that feels worse than knowing you cannot work because you were hurt badly on the job. You have suddenly lost your source of income on top of having to deal with painful symptoms of your condition.
The good news for those working in the maritime industry is that there is a potential for you to make a claim for compensation if you are covered under the Jones Act. If this act doesn’t cover your case, then workers’ compensation could be an alternative route for seeking replacement wages or medical cost support.
Who can qualify for support with the Jones Act?
Generally speaking, an injured person can qualify as a seaman and for coverage under the Jones Act if the worker:
- Performed duties that helps aid the vessel’s function or mission
- Has a substantial connection with the vessel, such as working onboard during the duration of the vessel’s travel
While these two factors seem to be straightforward, the question about who qualifies for support isn’t always settled by answering them. There can be confusion about what constitutes a substantial connection or about which duties actually help the vessel’s functions. For that reason, it’s important to consider looking into this and other options for compensation if you’ve been hurt on the job.
What if the Jones Act doesn’t cover my position?
You may have the ability to make a claim under other maritime liability laws if the Jones Act won’t cover you. For example, an unseaworthiness case might help you get compensated if the vessel was not fit for use. Essentially, if the vessel had dangerous parts like poorly maintained walkways or handrails, you could have a claim if those cause your injuries.
Of course, there is also a potential for a workers’ compensation claim in some cases, or you can pursue a general personal injury lawsuit. So, even if you don’t qualify under the Jones Act, keep in mind that there may be other routes to help you seek compensation for the injuries that you’ve suffered and the wages that you’ve lost. Going over your case with someone who understands maritime law may help you know which approach to take as you move forward.