The Jones Act serves to benefit the economy by prohibiting foreign vessels from engaging in coastwise trade with the United States. Another very important provision of the Jones Act is the allowance of maritime workers, who do not typically receive workers’ compensation benefits, to pursue compensation from their employers in the event of a work-related injury.
Under some circumstances, such as during a natural disaster, an employer might receive a Jones Act waiver that allows foreign ships to aid in relief efforts. This raises the question of how this waiver will affect your injury benefits under the Jones Act.
How can a Jones Act waiver affect my maritime injury case?
As the name implies, a Jones Act waiver allows involved parties to bypass certain laws provided by the Jones Act. If your employer misunderstands the terms of the waiver, or if they have malicious intent, they might claim that that waiver also nullifies your Jones Act injury benefits.
What are my options if my employer abuses a Jones Act waiver?
Denying workers’ compensation provided through the Jones Act is unacceptable behavior and wrongful abuse of a waiver. A waiver should not interfere with an injury claim, even if it is relevant to the Jones Act. If your employer denies you compensation for a work-related injury, you have the option to seek legal advocacy and collect evidence pertaining to your injury that might strengthen your case.
The Jones Act fills a blatant gap in the employee’s rights of maritime workers. Your legal team can help empower you to protect those rights, even if your employer claims that a waiver frees them from their obligations.