As a Louisiana resident who makes your living working on the water, you face a high risk of experiencing an injury or fatality on the job. The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, addresses the expectations of your employer when it comes to creating and maintaining a safe, comfortable place for you to work.
According to PBS, the Jones Act benefits you as a maritime worker in the following ways.
By giving you the means to sue for negligence
If you suffer an on-the-job injury because your employer neglected to maintain a safe work environment, the Jones Act gives you a possible way to hold your employer accountable. To do so, you need to demonstrate that your superiors or employer were aware that the vessel you worked on was inadequate. You also have to show that the issue with the vessel is what was responsible for your maritime injury.
If you are able to show that your employer or supervisor was negligent, you may be able to secure the same damages you would in a traditional personal injury case. More specifically, you may be able to get compensation to cover damages relating to pain, suffering, medical care, mental anguish and so on.
By enforcing a safe work environment
The Jones Act also protects you and other sailors against exploitation. It also sets guidelines when it comes to your employer providing you with adequate medical care when the need arises. Furthermore, it stipulates that your employer must uphold certain standards when it comes to boat maintenance, crew training and licensure, on-deck safety equipment and compliance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules and regulations.
If you plan to sue your employer for negligence under the Jones Act, you must do so within a specific timeframe.