If you are a mariner working at sea, you most likely face very real dangers on the job every single day. What you might not know is that, under maritime law, mariners are not qualified for workers’ compensation. That can be a big deal if you suffer an injury while working and need support. If you sustain an on-the-job injury, what are your options?
The Jones Act
Many laws that cover employees and citizens don’t apply to workers at sea. Mariners don’t have the option of filing for workers’ compensation, for example.
To provide for some support of mariners, Congress passed the Jones Act. This Act gives mariners the right to sue their employers directly. This means that, if your employer was negligent and failed to provide a safe work environment for you on board their ship, and you suffer an injury as a result, you can sue them directly to try to claim a recovery for your injuries.
Claims against other parties
If defective equipment caused your injury, you might be able to pursue a claim for damages against the manufacturer of that equipment.
A claim against a third party, such as a manufacturer, would be a civil lawsuit for negligence. Your attorney will have to prove that the manufacturer of the equipment improperly designed or or that it was otherwise defective, and that it was the cause of your injuries. If you win, you could recover your medical expenses, as well as other compensation – such as compensation for the time you cannot work, your pain and suffering and the suffering of your family.
When you suffer a serious injury while on the job, you will probably undergo short-term or long-term medical care and you might miss days or weeks of work. Those expenses can be costly, and it’s only fair that you be compensated for them. Luckily, with the Jones Act and civil third-party claims available to you, you won’t be left high and dry.