In 1920, U.S. Congress enacted a federal law called the Jones Act, or the Merchant Marine Act. This act regulates commerce between US ports to ships built, owned and operated by US citizens. This protects commerce in Alaska, Hawaii and offshore US territories.
For maritime workers, it also protects them under the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA). They can file workers' compensation claims if they are injured working while at sea, or their families may file a wrongful death lawsuit if their family member dies at sea.
If you encountered any of the following and you were injured, you may be entitled to legal damages as a workers' compensation claim. These include but are not limited to:
- Failure to maintain equipment
- Failure to select competent crewmen
- Assault by another crewman while at work
- Requiring overtime
- Failure to avoid heavy weather, giving negligent orders
- Failure to rescue
If you are injured or killed at work, you and your family will need help with the loss of income and debts from the incident. A workers' compensation claim within three years of the date of the incident can help by paying you or your family for:
- Loss of wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of value of household services
Be sure to hold your employer to its word if you are injured at sea. Even if your injury doesn't present itself for a few years or is worsened as a result of a pre-existing condition, you do not have to suffer alone. You can explore your options at a no-pressure consultation with a legal professional who has experience in maritime law to find out if you are eligible for compensation.