Jones Act laws are the interconnecting set of federal laws, state and federal court opinions, federal regulations, and other items that govern Jones Act claims. They shape and determine how sailors bring actions for damages.
At the start, sailors are concerned about how and where they can recover for the injuries that they have sustained. They have medical bills, lost wages, and a changed standard of living. For all of these things and more, they need compensation. Yet, it is still important to understand the legal foundations that their claims will be based upon. Jones act law includes a number of statutory definitions, claim elements, and past cases. Here, you can explore some of the most relevant aspects of Jones Act law.
What Are Jones Act Terms?
Jones Act terms come from federal law, courts, and regulations. They define important points at issue in Jones Act litigation.
Here are some key terms to understand regarding Jones Act claims:
- Seaman: A person is considered a seaman if he or she spends a significant amount of time working aboard a vessel in navigation. Only seamen that meet this definition can bring claims under the Jones Act
- Vessel in navigation: A vessel in navigation means something afloat in operation that is capable of moving about the waters. Note, a vessel in navigation does not necessarily have to be a ship or boat.
- Significant amount of time: Generally, this requirement has come to mean that seamen must work on a ship or fleet at least thirty percent of the time.
- Navigable waters: The law takes a broad view of the definition of navigable waters for the purposes of Jones Act recovery. This bodes well for seamen seeking compensation. Not only does this include oceans and gulfs, it also extends to lakes, rivers, and harbors.
- Unseaworthiness: Vessels in navigation must have sufficient design, crew, hull, equipment and other things in order to provide a safe work environment.
- Cure: This is the cost of all the healthcare and medical expenses necessary to treat the injured sailor as well as the costs to get him to all of that treatment.
- Maintenance: This includes living expenses, such as housing, food, and utilities, that the injured sailor needs while recovering from his or her injuries.
What Are Elements Of Jones Act Claims?
Jones Act elements are the things that sailors must prove in Jones Act claims. They are preset by the kind of case that the plaintiff brings.
- Negligence: From the Jones Act, you can sue your employer, the ship owner, or a crewmember for injuries you sustained due to their negligence while working aboard a vessel in navigation. The elements of this case would include 1) duty 2) breach 3) causation 4) damages. To read more about Jones Act claims, click here.
- Unseaworthy: This claim stems from general maritime law. It sets out that the ship was not in a seaworthy condition and that that defect led to the sailor’s injuries. Examples of unseaworthy conditions include worn down equipment, untrained staff, or a lack of safety procedures.
- Cure and maintenance: These claims set forth that a sailor was injured on vessel in navigation and deserves certain benefits for healthcare costs and living expenses while recovering.
What Are Jones Act Cases?
Important Jones Act cases include Chandris, Inc. v. Latsis,Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Sorrell, R. Bunting v. Sun Co., Bodden v. Coordinated Caribbean Transport, Inc., and Southwest Marine, Inc. v. Gizoni. Here are their main outcomes.
Chandris, Inc., v. Latsis, 515 U.S. 347 (1995)
Determined who is and who is not considered a seaman for the purposes of the Jones Act.
Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Sorrell, 549 U.S. 158, 171 (2007)
Standard of causation in Jones Act cases.
R. Bunting v. Sun Co., 434 Pa. Super. 404; 643 A.2d 1085 (1994)
Contributory fault in Jones Act cases.
Bodden v. Coordinated Caribbean Transport, Inc., 369 F. 2nd 273 (5th Cir. 1966)
Defining who is and who is not part of the crew
Southwest Marine, Inc. v. Gizoni, 502 U.S. 81 (1991)
Allowing recovery under the Jones Act and the Longshore Act.
What Do Jones Act Lawyers Do?
Jones Act lawyers can file, build, and argue your case with expertise and passion. To learn more about what a capable attorney can offer you, keep reading.
Now, a lot of the foregoing definitions, elements, and cases may not mean a whole lot to you. The good news is that it does not have to. Instead, it’s the job of your attorney to take these convoluted concepts, combine them with the circumstances of your sea injury, and make an actionable Jones Act lawsuit. Lawyers have a number of tools at their disposal to accomplish this such as discovery, cross-examinations, and closing arguments. The ultimate result is that they can take control of all the examination, investigation, correspondence, and presentation that your case demands so that you can focus on your recovery. RIL has successful worked with many sailors. We know what it takes to win and, more importantly, we know that the stakes are high. No Jones Act claim comes without significant medical bills, lost wages, and suffering. You need a firm that can get it right.
Call Us To Learn More!
Excited to hear about options to your sea injury? Sick of having to deal with the incident yourself? Then, get in touch with us today. We can give you a checklist of tasks to ensure that you don’t miss out on the compensation that you deserve. Also, we can give you insight into what kind of recovery you can expect and how you can obtain it. Don’t wait! Call us now at (888) 424-5757!