The Jones Act is one of the few areas of the law that is still favorable to an injured worker. It applies to deck hands, engineers, third mates, second mates, first mates, relief captains, captains, roustabouts, roughnecks, drillers, pilots, tanker man, anchor tenders and basically all persons that are involved in the maritime offshore industry. It applies to the fishing, fishery, canning, shrimping, oil field, dredging, barge, tugboat, towboat, crew boat, supply boat and other maritime offshore industries.
The Jones Act applies to any seaman that injures himself or herself while in the course and scope of employment, i.e., hurt on the job. There is not workers compensation for a seaman hurt offshore. If you are hurt offshore, instead of workmans’ compensation, there is Maintenance and Cure. The Maintenance is very low and is a per day payment. It is sometimes as low as $8.00 a day and sometimes as high as $35.00 a day. The Cure is medical care. However, most the time, the company will send you to their company doctor who is not really interested in finding out all your injuries and places you fit for duty when you really are not.
Many times workers will hurt their feet, knees, hip, back, neck, spine, head, arms, elbow, hand and fingers. Sometimes they will hurt multiple areas of their body but the company doctor will not perform the necessary tests, such as an MRI, to determine the full extent of the offshore injuries.
At Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP, our lawyers have handled all types of injuries resulting from faulty equipment. When a piece of equipment breaks or is in some way a cause of the accident, the law calls that an unseaworthy condition. Specifically, the equipment is unseaworthy if it is not fit for its intended purpose. Not by way of limitation, but equipment that has been involved in some cases under are cranes, personnel baskets, transfer baskets, ladders, berths, bunks, crane, ropes, taglines, lines, radars, radios, valves, cables, decks, EPIRBs, winches, pulleys, ratchets, vests, gunnels, transoms, rigging, drilling fluids, pipes, lights, flashlights, hatches, anchors, hulls and list goes on and on.
Often, the negligent actions of a fellow crew member are the cause of an accident. The Jones Act permits money recovery for this as well. Sometimes collisions occur from misreading a chart; or the captain runs aground or runs into the jetties from not observing the buoys or channel markers properly; sometimes the captain is negligent in the operation of the vessel in the fog or in severe weather and waves; sometimes another deckhand will track oil or grease from the engine room and someone slips on it; or another crew member will leave open a hatch on a barge that someone inadvertently falls into.
As you can readily see, people get hurt in many ways since working on the water, be it inland or offshore, is very dangerous and perilous. For all these events, the Jones Act provides the potential for recovery if you have a good maritime, admiralty, Jones Act lawyer. There is no limitation to what has been defined as a vessel. It includes a barge, dredge, jack-up barge, drill ship, workover rig, floater, platform, crewboat, supply boat, etc. The Jones Act covers all types of injuries and cure should cover all surgeries involving repair of herniated disks such as laminectomies and fusions to other joint repairs such as repairing a torn rotator cuff, knee arthroscopy and, basically, any and all necessary medical care to every part of the body.
There are time limitations that govern people injured under the Jones Act. Generally speaking it is 3 years from date of injury. However, it is much smarter to get an attorney involved early to preserve evidence.
At the law office of Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP, we have helped many injured offshore workers recover compensation based on the Jones Act. Let us put our resources and experience to work for your Jones Act injury.
Call us at (800) 773-6770 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.