Many injured workers in the maritime industry are confused about how they can take action to claim back damages. Suffering an injury at work can be life changing, and it can mean that workers need to change their job completely because of the nature of their injuries. This turn can lead to financial suffering and can put a significant strain on family life.
It is important that you understand how you can go about taking action to claim back the damages that you are entitled to. Most workers in the United States, including in the state of Louisiana, are entitled to workers' compensation when they are injured in the workplace. However, workers who are seamen are subject to different laws.
How are seamen protected from work-related injuries?
Seamen are not protected from workers' compensation. Many worry that this means they are not eligible for financial compensation whatsoever. However, this is not the case. In fact, seamen are subject to heightened legal protections because their job in inherently dangerous. These protections are outlined under the Jones Act.
What protections does the Jones Act offer?
Under the Jones Act, injured seamen are able to sue their employer for any negligence that led to the injury. In addition, you will have the right to gain compensation for medical treatment, and payment for unearned wages that were caused by the injury.
What is the definition of a seaman?
There can be some issues when a worker tries to take action under the Jones Act and is met with backlash in regard to their status as a seaman. In 1995, the United States Supreme Court addressed the definition of a seaman to establish clarity. In order to be considered a seaman, a worker must have employment that is connected to a vessel in navigation. Additionally, they must spend at least 30 percent of their working time on the vessel in navigation in order to be considered a seaman under the Jones Act.
If you have been injured as a seaman and you want to take action under the Jones Act, it is important that you fully understand your rights to make a claim.