Maritime workers often operate in high-pressure environments where there is little room for error. These environments can make seamen especially vulnerable to injury if their employer is negligent.
Fortunately, the Jones Act exists to protect seamen who have been injured due to negligence and provides them a path toward financial recovery. If you were injured by another’s negligence while working on the river, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced Jones Act lawyer. Skilled maritime injury attorney Elissa M. Coombs leads the maritime litigation team at the Law Office of David E. Gordon and is eager to assess your eligibility for compensation and explain how to best proceed with filing a claim.
Common Causes of At Sea Injuries
Injuries on the river commonly arise from unseaworthy and negligent factors, such as:
- Lack of safety gear
- Faulty equipment
- Insufficient crew
- Inadequate medical equipment or care
- Unsafe conditions on the boat or tow
- Insufficient training protocols
This negligence could result in devastating harm aboard a vessel, such as broken bones, amputations, internal injuries, and other injuries to the spinal cord, head, and neck. A Memphis Jones Act lawyer could investigate whether the negligence of a seaman’s employer, fellow crew member, or another party was responsible for the accident which caused the injury.
Criteria for Pursuing Compensation Under the Jones Act
There is a wide range of seamen occupations that could fulfill the criteria to file a claim under the Jones Act. A seaman is categorized as a maritime employee who contributes to the function or mission of a vessel in navigation and who has a substantiation connection to that vessel in duration and nature. Nearly all river workers who work around towboats and barges “contribute to the function or mission of a vessel.” A river worker who spends at least 30 percent of his workday on a vessel satisfies the duration requirement. A river worker whose duties are unique to river work (making tow, navigating a vessel, etc.) and who is exposed to the perils of working on the river (falling overboard, fighting fire while away from the dock, etc.) satisfy the nature requirement. Common examples of seamen who may be eligible for compensation through the Jones Act include:
- Captains, Pilots, and Steersmen
- Tanker men
Before a seaman can recover compensation with a Jones Act lawyer, he or she must prove that his or her employer acted negligently and that the careless conduct caused the injury. All employers, on land or on the river, have a legal obligation to their employees to use reasonable care in daily business operations. If the company or one of its employees violates this duty, the employer could be held liable for a seaman’s injuries and sustained damages.
A seaman also has a legal duty to use reasonable care in the performance of his or her job tasks. Therefore, if a seaman fails to uphold this legal duty and it contributes to causing an accident and the subsequent injuries, compensation may be reduced or eliminated.
Available Compensation in Memphis
A Memphis Jones Act lawyer can help an injured seaman pursue numerous types of compensation. Unlike state worker’s compensation cases, Jones Act cases are handled under federal law – and there is no cap on the damages recoverable. Because many injuries on the river are severe, these damages can be substantial.
Injured or ill river workers also may be entitled to maintenance and cure while they are off the boat. “Maintenance” is a daily rate of money paid directly to the worker, and “cure” covers the payment of his medical treatment. When a river company refuses to pay the required maintenance and cure, it may have to also pay punitive damages to the injured river worker.
Compensation for lost wages (past and future), pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and mental distress are recoverable as well.
Call a Memphis Jones Act Attorney
A Memphis Jones Act lawyer can work diligently to achieve full recovery of your economic, physical, and psychological damages and pursue all possible avenues of liability. If you are a seaman who was hurt while performing your job duties, contact seasoned maritime law attorney Elissa M. Coombs of the Law Office of David E. Gordon as soon as possible to get more information about your legal rights and starting a claim for compensation.