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Seafaring workers and many of those who work on docks, harbors or piers are not covered by state workers’ compensation laws. However, they may be able to file injury claims under The Jones Act or Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. These laws are complex, with numerous eligibility requirements and exclusions. If you are unsure if you may have a valid claim, our Lansing marine injury lawyers are ready to review your situation in a free consultation to determine if you may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, living expenses and other damages.

I’m happy with the way my case was handled. Very patient and professional…
– J. Corwin

Jay Trucks and Associates has been representing injured Michigan residents for more than 30 years and we have an established track record – more than $500 million recovered on behalf of our clients. The consultation comes with no obligation to hire our firm. If we validate your claim and you hire us to represent you, there are no upfront fees.

Free Consultation. Ph: (800) 762-8623

What You Need to Know About The Jones Act

Workers’ compensation laws do not cover injured seamen. They are instead covered by The Jones Act, which allows you to take private legal action against an employer or a co-worker who contributed to your injury, such as a master, mate, engineer or pilot.

The Jones Act does not provide for a no-fault system like workers’ compensation laws. Workers who file claims under this federal law need to prove negligence, willful misconduct, neglect or refusal to follow laws on safe navigation of sea vessels.

Am I Eligible for a Jones Act Claim?

This is something you should discuss with a licensed attorney, as this is a complex question to answer. Our Lansing marine injury lawyers have comprehensive knowledge of The Jones Act and are ready to discuss this with you in a free consultation. We are also available to answer your questions and discuss legal options.

Generally, seamen who spend at least 30 percent of their time as a crewmember or captain of a vessel in navigation are eligible to file Jones Act claims. Eligible employees must work toward the mission of the vessel, which is why administrative staff are not eligible to file these claims.

If you worked aboard one of the following vessels and contributed to the vessel’s mission, you may be eligible to file a claim:

  • Fishing boat
  • Tug
  • Barge
  • Dredge
  • Drill ship
  • Oil tanker
  • Diving support craft
  • Cruise ships
  • Ferries
  • Charter boats
  • Jack-up rigs
  • Cargo ships

The vessel you were on must have been in navigation, which means it must have been in operation, afloat and capable of moving on waters where travel is possible. Vessels can be stationary or tied up at a dock if they have a sail or motor that is in operation. The vessel must be in the water though.

In navigation also means the vessel is on waters where travel is possible, such as landlocked lakes that connect to other states like Lake Michigan or Lake Erie.

How Do You Prove Negligence in a Jones Act Claim?

Generally, negligence refers to the failure of your employer to take steps to create a reasonably safe environment for you and your coworkers. There are many examples of negligence, such as:

Your Lansing maritime injury attorney must prove your employer’s or a crewmember’s negligence played some role in your injury. Even if it was a small role, you may have a valid claim.

Schedule a free consultation. Ph: (800) 762-8623.

Can Ship Owners Be Held Liable for Injuries?

Your attorney would need to show the ship was unseaworthy, meaning it does not contain safe and appropriate equipment to allow workers to do their jobs safely. You need to show a connection between the unsafe condition and your injury. For example, maybe safeguards were not in place with dangerous machinery.

This is a complex issue you can discuss with one of the licensed attorneys at Jay Trucks and Associates.

What Benefits Does The Jones Act Provide?

The Jones Act allows injured seamen to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, lost enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. The Jones Act provides coverage for reasonable and necessary medical bills, including the cost of traveling to appointments.

The Jones Act also provide maintenance payments covering your living expenses while you recover from your injury. Examples of this may include rent, mortgage payments, homeowners insurance payments, cost of food and property taxes. Courts have ruled that employers should provide for the full cost of your necessary living expenses during your recovery.

Once your recovery is complete, benefits are no longer provided.

Who is Not Covered by The Jones Act?

The Jones Act does not cover those who work on harbors and are not often on vessels in navigable waters. Many of these workers are instead covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

This law covers a variety of employees who work at docks, piers, wharves, terminals and locations where vessels are loaded and unloaded, including:

  • Longshoremen
  • Ship repairment
  • Ship breakers
  • Harbor construction workers
  • Those involved in transporting goods from one ship to another or to another location, including truck drivers

Many different kinds of workers are excluded from coverage:

Injuries or diseases that happen in the course of employment are generally covered, along with injuries caused by intentional actions of another party.

Types of Compensation in LHWCA Claims

LHWCA claims are similar to workers’ compensation claims, as victims may be eligible to receive partial or total disability benefits, along with coverage for medical costs and vocational rehabilitation.

Disability benefits are not provided unless your disability lasts at least three days. When the disability lasts 14 days, you can receive compensation for those first three days of disability.

The LHWCA says total disability benefits equal two-thirds of your average weekly wage, with a cap of 50 percent of national average weekly wages. Partial disability benefits equal two-thirds of lost earning capacity.

When workers permanently lose the use of arms, hands, legs, feet, toes, fingers, eyes or ears, they can receive benefits for a certain number of weeks, based on the LHWCA schedule of benefits.

If your loved one died from a work-related injury, you may be eligible for death benefits. These benefits cannot be more than 200 percent of the national average weekly wage.

Contact a Lansing Marine Injury Lawyer to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you were injured at sea or while working on a harbor, you should seriously consider seeking legal representation, as pursuing compensation can be complicated. The attorneys at Jay Trucks and Associates are prepared to handle the legal process for you, while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

The consultation is free and comes with no obligation, so there is no risk to you. We do not bill for our services unless you receive compensation at the end of the legal process.

Our lawyers understand how difficult it can be to deal with the aftermath of a work injury, not just physically but financially as victims are often unable to work or must work in a diminished capacity, resulting in lost income.

You can reach us by phone (800) 762-8623 or by online contact form. We are ready to discuss how we may be able to assist you.

Jay Trucks & Associates. Free Consultation.

Working at sea, in a harbor or on the waterfront can be very dangerous for a variety of reasons. When an injury occurs, workers may not know how to seek compensation because they may have heard they are excluded from workers’ compensation laws.

My case was handled with speed and great concern for my best interest. I have already recommended Jay Trucks & Associates to others and will continue to do so in the future.
– K.G

Fortunately, they may be able to seek compensation for damages under The Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Our Traverse City marine injury lawyers have extensive knowledge of these laws and how to determine whether an injured worker may have an eligible case. We are prepared to manage the legal process on your behalf.

Our firm, Jay Trucks and Associates, has recovered more than $500,000,000 in compensation on behalf of Michigan injury victims, and we have more than 250 five-star reviews from satisfied clients. Your initial consultation comes at no charge. We also work on contingency so there are no upfront fees for our legal services or while we represent you. We only get paid after obtaining compensation for you.

No Upfront Fees. Ph: (800) 762-8623.

The Jones Act

You can think of this law as a replacement of sorts for workers’ compensation laws. Injured seamen who qualify to file claims may be able to take legal action against their employer, or a coworker, if they can prove their injury was the result of willful misconduct, negligence, neglect or refusal to follow laws governing safe navigation of vessels.

Jones Act claims are more complicated than workers’ compensation claims because, unlike a workers’ compensation claim, you are required to establish negligence.

Do I Qualify to File a Jones Act Claim?

This is a question you can ask one of our licensed Traverse City marine injury lawyers in a free consultation. There are various factors to consider, particularly how and where your injury occurred.

Who Does the Jones Act Cover?

Captains or crewmembers who spend a minimum of 30 percent of their total employment time on a vessel that is in navigation may qualify to file a Jones Act claim. Crewmembers may include masters, mates, engineers, pilots and various other employees. They must be contributing to the mission of the vessel, which is why administrative staff who do not spend much time on the vessel are likely not covered by The Jones Act.

The phrase, “in navigation” means the boat or vessel is afloat, in operation and capable of moving on waters where vessels can travel (waters that can be used for interstate or foreign commerce – such as Lake Michigan or Lake Erie). A vessel that is not moving may qualify if it has a motor or sail that could be used. Even vessels that are tied up at a dock may be considered as navigable. Vessels that are outside of the water, such as ships being built, do not qualify as in navigation.

There are various examples of vessels that may fall under The Jones Act, such as:

  • Fishing boats
  • Tugs
  • Barges
  • Dredges
  • Cargo ships
  • Cruise ships
  • Ferries
  • Charter boats
  • Diving support craft
  • Oil tankers
  • Jack-up rigs

Complete our Online Case Evaluation form to get a callback from our firm.

How to Prove Negligence in a Jones Act Claim

Negligence in a Jones Act claim means your employer, or a co-worker, failed to use ordinary care to help prevent an injury from an unsafe condition, such as:

  • Slippery or wet floors
  • Failure to do an effective safety inspection
  • Failing to require members of the crew to follow safety regulations
  • Failing to install handrails or grip strips on ladders
  • Failure to safely maintain equipment
  • Failing to have fire extinguishers on the vessel
  • Poor training of crewmembers

A Jones Act claim only requires that you prove negligence contributed to your accident in some small way as opposed to a personal injury claim, where you must establish negligence was the main cause of your injuries.

Even though Jones Act claims require a lower burden of proof, you should still consider hiring a lawyer, as those with legal representation often recover more compensation than those who do not.

Call a Traverse City marine injury attorney today: (800) 762-8623.

Can Ship Owners be Held Liable for Injuries?

It may be possible to hold a ship owner liable for your injuries. However, you or your attorney would need to prove the vessel, because of the hazardous condition that caused your injury, was unseaworthy and an unsafe place to work.

Your attorney would also need to provide evidence of the unsafe condition that caused your injury and made the vessel unseaworthy, such as a slippery surface or poorly maintained equipment. Failing to provide warnings about the dangers of using a piece of equipment could also be a condition that made the vessel unseaworthy.

What Benefits Does the Jones Act Provide?

You can pursue compensation for the economic effects of your injury, such as medical bills for past and future treatment (surgeries, stays in the hospital, physical therapy, prescription medications, etc.), lost wages, and loss of earning capacity if you cannot work in the same job as before the injury. You may also be able to pursue compensation for certain non-economic effects of your injury, which may include:

Pain and Suffering

This refers to the physical pain from your injuries and the psychological damage an injury may cause, such as depression, permanent disfigurement and mental anguish.

Lost Enjoyment of Life

Sometimes injuries prevent you from being able to engage in the same activities you enjoyed before your injury, such as hobbies or activities with family members, like playing sports with your children.

The Jones Act also provides for maintenance payments, which means compensation to pay your living expenses while you are trying to recover. Living expenses could include mortgage or rent payments, utilities, property taxes, food, home insurance and more. Court decisions have clarified that employers are supposed to cover the full cost of covered living expenses. In the past, employers only provided a small amount of compensation that often did not fully cover an employee’s expenses.

Our firm is available to answer your questions about the potential value of your claim.

Who is Not Covered by the Jones Act?

Those who work on the harbor are not covered by the Jones Act because they do not spend at least 30 percent of their total employment time in a vessel on the water. However, there is another law that covers these employees in the event of an injury.

What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?

The LHWCA is a federal law providing workers’ compensation benefits for covered workers. The law covers many types of employees who work on wharves, docks, piers, terminals and other locations where vessels may be loaded or unloaded. Examples of employees who may be covered by the law include:

  • Longshoremen
  • Shipbuilders
  • Harbor construction workers
  • Ship breakers
  • Ship repairment
  • Those who transport goods between ships, including those who drive trucks that transport goods

Many workers are specifically excluded from the law, such as:

  • Restaurant employees
  • Museum, camp or club workers
  • Clerical workers
  • Security personnel
  • Employees covered by The Jones Act
  • Employees covered by workers’ compensation laws
  • Employees who were injured because of their intoxication
  • Workers involved in unloading vessels that do not weigh 18 tons or more
  • Workers involved in building ships that are not at least 65 feet long
  • Aquaculture workers

Many accidental injuries or deaths that occur in the course of eligible workers’ employment. You may be able to obtain compensation for a disease that arises during the course of your employment or the willful actions of a third party.

Compensation That May be Available

The LHWCA is similar to workers’ compensation laws in that it provides partial and total disability benefits, coverage for your reasonable medical bills and vocational rehabilitation. Your disability/injury must last for a minimum of three days. When injuries last for 14 days or more you may also be eligible for compensation for the first three days of your disability.

The LHWCA says total disability benefits equal two-thirds of your average weekly wage and partial disability benefits equal two-thirds of the difference between your current earnings and your pre-injury earnings.

The LHWCA has a benefit schedule for those who suffer the loss of:

  • One or both arms
  • One or both legs
  • Fingers
  • Hands
  • Toes
  • Legs
  • Eyes
  • Ears

Meanwhile, total disability benefits cannot be more than 50 percent of the national average weekly wage. Death benefits cannot be more than 200 percent of the national average weekly wage.

Call a Traverse City Marine Injury Lawyer Today

You must prove your injury resulted from negligence to obtain compensation in a Jones Act claim. That is just one reason why injured seamen and harbor workers should strongly consider seeking legal representation from an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge of relevant laws.

At Jay Trucks and Associates, we have more than 150 years of combined experience. Our firm has been advocating for Michigan injury victims for decades and we work on contingency, which means no upfront fees for our services. We do not get paid until you do.

We know compensation cannot change what happened to you, but it may help as you and your family look to move forward and manage the damages your injury has caused.

In a free consultation, you can learn more about how we may be able to assist you and the benefits of working with a licensed attorney.

Contact us anytime. Ph: (800) 762-8623.