Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who Qualifies For Compensation Under the Jones Act?

Jones Act is a US maritime law that has been designed to make sure that all employees and members of the crew of any water vessel are protected against serious injuries due to negligence of the employer. Individuals who work aboard a ship or any type of water vessel is exposed to higher risk of personal injury or even death, particularly if the employer does not provide the right equipment or safety measures to ensure the well being and protection of everyone onboard the ship. This federal maritime law makes sure that everyone who works on a sea vessel, from the captain to the crewman, will have comprehensive coverage if he is injured or has died due to employer's negligence.

So who are qualified to get compensation under this maritime law? The Jones Act does not discriminate. You should know that you will have protection even if you work as a wiper, deckhand, cook, fish processor, housekeeper, engineer, mate, janitors, receptionists or anyone who works in any part of the ship. You are also protected by the law if you work aboard barges, tug boats, commercial fishing vessels, tour boats, tankers, tour ships, cruise ships. Not only crewmen working aboard ships and boats navigating the sea are protected by this law as even those who work in water vessels that travel in lakes, rivers, bays and other bodies of water also get coverage.

Occupational and vocational retraining, past and future medical costs, past and future lost wages, past and future suffering and pain (including psychological suffering) are some of the damages that are covered by the Jones Act. It is worth noting that there are many instances when a person's ability to work is hindered by serious illnesses or injuries. If this is the case, seafarers or mariners are entitled to damages for lost of employment or earning capacity if the serious injury incurred by the employee is proven to be due to the negligence of the employer.

Under the Jones Act, the employer of any person working aboard the vessel must ensure that the working condition in the ship is safe and is not exposing any member of the crew to injury. This means that the employer has to take precautionary measures, provide proper safety gears and equipment to prevent accidents and injuries. It is also worth noting that mariners are also protected by the law when they are injured due to negligence in the part of their fellow crew members.

Visit or call SMSH at 1-800-282-2122 for additional information about the Jones Act and Maritime Law.

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