Suing for negligence: One option under the Jones Act

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2022 | Admiralty & Maritime Law

The Jones Act is a maritime law that compensates workers injured while working with or aboard a vessel. It is similar to worker’s compensation but mainly gives you the ability to sue your employer if they are negligent.

The Jones Act has a lot in common with most personal injury lawsuits but there are some subtle differences. It gives families and injured seamen different options. One of those options is suing for negligence.

Suing for negligence

The Jones Act allows seamen to sue their employers for negligence. The injured seaman or their family must prove the employer, owner or captain was negligent and that it was the cause of the injury or death.

Some forms of negligence are:

  • Poorly kept equipment
  • Assault by another worker
  • Improper training
  • Fluids other than water on the deck or the lack of traction surfacing
  • Unsafe methods
  • Improper safety equipment or no safety equipment

Even the slightest bit of negligence can cause serious injury when a ship is out at sea.

The Jones Act has a lower threshold of proof

One of the major differences between Jones Act cases and regular personal injury cases is that a Jones Act case uses any negligence no matter how small or indirect. In personal injury and Work’s compensation cases, the employer has to be directly negligent.

Damages due to negligence under the Jones Act

Despite their differences, personal injury, worker’s compensation and the Jones act all have very similar damages that they award.

The Jones Act gives injured seamen and their families a lot of options when it comes to what they can sue for and has lighter restrictions on proof making it easier to recover damages.

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