When Is Jones Act Coverage Required?
The maritime industry has one of the oldest laws designed to protect injured workers. The concept of maintenance and cure means that injured seamen must receive compensation for living costs (maintenance) and for medical care until they are healed as much as possible (cure). Notably, maintenance and cure doesn’t require either party to prove fault—it only requires the injured party to have been working on the ship at the time of their accident.
While maintenance and cure is an important concept for seamen, it failed to help offshore workers who sustained injuries or were killed because of the negligence of their employer. So, an offshore worker could sustain life-altering injuries and be unable to hold their employer accountable for negligence. Then, in 1920, the Merchant Marine Act—commonly referred to as the Jones Act—provided accountability in the maritime industry by enabling injured offshore workers to pursue their employers for negligence.
Jones Act Coverage Requirements
Since the Jones Act deals with worker injuries and providing them with compensation for them, many seamen confuse it with insurance coverage, just as the kind land workers enjoy through workers’ compensation. However, the Jones Act is not insurance coverage. Instead, it provides offshore workers with the protection offered by the ability to hold their employers accountable for negligence. The Jones Act should be viewed as protection from accidents for workers rather than coverage that helps them after one. Because of the Jones Act, employers have a legal and financial reason to make sure safety is prioritized on their vessels. While it's impossible to make sure every employer is accountable, the Jones Act certainly helps make sure many are.
Is a Settlement Offered by my Company Because of the Jones Act?
No. If a company offers a settlement after an accident, it might be looking to shield itself from the accountability provided by the Jones Act. Once a worker signs and accepts a settlement, they’ll be unable to use the Jones Act to pursue their company for fair compensation. If your company offers you a settlement, you should always speak with our offshore accident lawyers to determine if it’s fair. Often, an offshore injury firm can help you recover damages and receive compensation that extends far beyond an initial settlement offer.
Call Our Team for Help with Jones Act Claims
At Arnold & Itkin, we’ve earned a reputation for being the firm that helps offshore workers facing difficult situations. We proudly represented over one-third of the Deepwater Horizon crew when they needed help getting fair treatment from some of the largest offshore companies in the world. When the El Faro disaster took the lives of every crewmember on board, our team stepped in to demand the answers that families needed. We’ve shown time and time again that it takes dedication to win the results clients need. Now, we’re ready to use that same dedication for you.
Call our Jones Act lawyers today at (888) 346-5024 for help with your Jones Act claim. An initial consultation is free, confidential, and will help you find out if our firm can help you get the compensation you need.