Louisiana Jones Act Attorneys
Baton Rouge Law Firm: Serving Clients Throughout Louisiana & Nationwide
Prior to 1920, workers in the shipping industry had no protection when it came to recovering damages for a wrongful injury they incurred while aboard the ship. Since there was no federal regulation of shipping at all, injured or ill workers would simply have to suffer in silence and even move on to another line of work. Thankfully, the year 1920 saw a plethora of important legislatures pertaining to the maritime industry; one of these was the Jones Act. It gave legal rights to ship workers to seek financial compensation from those responsible for injuries or illnesses aboard a ship because of recklessness, negligence, or the ship’s unfitness for the sea.
Because of this act, any worker on a United States ship owned by a United States company can be entitled to Jones Act rights, as long as he or she technically qualifies as a “seaman.”
Compared to common maritime law, this act is much more specialized. In order to qualify as a “seaman” and obtain Jones Act rights, one needs to spend a minimum of 30% of his or her working time on the ship. Many shipping occupations apply, and if you are unsure whether or not you or loved one does, consult with one of our experts today to know definitively. Finally, compensation under the Jones Act requires proof of fault in the employer or owner of the vessel. This means that it is an employee’s job to show that your employers are to blame for your accident. Hiring a knowledgeable maritime lawyer is your best option for ensuring that fault is properly proven in a court of law. Our firm proudly helps clients throughout Louisiana, including in Bunkie, Plaucheville, Columbia, Grayson, Galliano, Rayville, Many, Zwolle, Saint Rose, Franklin, Newellton, Angie, Sibley, and more.
Get honest answers from an experienced Louisiana Jones Act attorney. Call (888) 493-1629 for your free consultation!
We've Helped Offshore Workers After Serious Maritime Disasters & Accidents
According to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics, Louisiana leads the nation in maritime jobs. For example, Louisiana is the top employer of captains, mates, pilots of water vessels, sailors, marine oilers, and ship engineers. As the maritime industry is one of the most dangerous industries to work for, it is not uncommon for offshore workers from all over Louisiana to suffer serious accidents.
Working as a seaman in the maritime industry is a high-risk job because they work with heavy loads and large equipment while dealing with hazardous vessel conditions and the natural risks of working offshore. For example, if a worker gets seriously injured hundreds of miles offshore, it is difficult for him or her to get immediate medical attention—making offshore jobs extremely dangerous. Mitigating the risks you face is a vessel owner’s responsibility. If they fail in that responsibility, you can hold them accountable under the Jones Act. The Baton Rouge Jones Act attorneys at Arnold & Itkin have helped our clients win billions of dollars to rebuild their lives.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is the common name for the Merchant Marine Act of 1920—a federal statute that governs maritime commerce transported between U.S. ports. It also sets regulations over the maritime industry and protects U.S. workers when they’re injured at sea. The Jones Act allows offshore workers who suffer injuries due to unseaworthiness or negligence to file a claim against their employers. If a maritime worker has experienced a wrongful death, the Jones Act also allows immediate family to fight for compensation under the Jones Act.
Under the Jones Act, injured workers can claim:
- Cost of living during recovery
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Medical care
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain, suffering, and disfigurement
Filing a Jones Act claim should be handled with the guidance and experience of a Baton Rouge Jones Act attorney. Navigating the unfamiliar waters of admiralty and maritime law requires a deft and seasoned hand—with your family’s future at stake, you don’t want anyone less than someone who has won billions in court. Arnold & Itkin LLP is among the most renowned maritime firms nationwide, providing industry-shifting counsel for the largest cases in recent history. If you want to know what to do next, speak with us in a free review of your case.
Maritime Worker Rights Under the Jones Act
The Jones Act allows qualified seamen to seek compensation after suffering serious injuries while aboard a vessel due to unseaworthiness, vessel hazards, or general negligence. You can file a claim whether your injury was caused as a result of the vessel owner, operator, or another employee’s negligence. Every maritime worker has the right to a safe work environment under the Jones Act.
A seamen’s rights under the Jones Act include:
- The right to a reasonably safe work environment
- The right to make a claim if injured by negligence
- The right to maintenance and cure
- Additional compensation if a vessel is unseaworthy
- The right to punitive damages in some cases
Claims of Unseaworthiness Under the Jones Act
Under the Jones Act, the ship owner is required to keep the vessel seaworthy (or free of preventable hazards) for employees. A vessel owner is not allowed to shift this obligation to anyone else. While there's no hard-and-fast definition of "unseaworthiness" under the law, there are a broad set of conditions that would qualify a ship as unseaworthy. If your ship's unseaworthiness caused your injuries, you can claim more compensation.
An offshore vessel can be considered unseaworthy due to the following:
- An inadequately sized crew
- Improperly stowed cargo
- Lack of appropriate safety guards or rails
- Lack of fire suppression equipment
- Lack of proper elevators or hoists
- Lack of sufficient food
- Unsafe living conditions
- Untrained crew or captain
Jones Act FAQ
When Is it Possible to Use the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a specific piece of coverage. Certain conditions need to be met in order to obtain compensation from this particular legislature. One needs to be a qualified seaman, show proof of both negligence in supervising staff and unseaworthiness in the ship, showing overall an inability to provide a safe workplace that directly led to the event of your injury or illness. The Jones Act may apply if your vessel’s equipment was insufficient or improperly maintained, your vessel was understaffed, your crew leaders practiced ill-advised work methods, or you or another crew member was improperly trained. Once these burdens of proof are met, the Jones Act provides compensation for a number of different expenses related to your injury.
What Accidents Does the Jones Act Help After?
There's no specific accident that the Jones Act applies to. Rather, the law is useful when the negligence of an employer or vessel owner causes a preventable accident. The Jones Act holds employers accountable for maintaining their vessels, taking safety precautions, and making sure workers are safe no matter how dangerous their line of work is. The Jones Act has been used to help workers after oil rig explosions, platform accidents, slip and falls, vessel collisions, orthopedic injuries, and catastrophic injuries.
While the Jones Act is often used after serious offshore accidents, it's important to realize that it applies to all sorts of incidents. For example, a worker who has sustained back injuries because his worker expected him to lift too much is just as entitled to use the Jones Act as a survivor of a significant oil rig explosion or disaster.
What Can the Jones Act Help Workers Receive Compensation For?
Unlike other pieces of legislature, namely the Death on the High Seas Act, the Jones Act may have the flexibility to reattribute injured workers and their families for every financial, emotional, or psychological loss stemming from the accident. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, these may include lost wages (past, present, and future), physical pain, mental anguish or trauma, medical expenses (past, present, and future), and disfigurement.
In order to be compensated for these aspect of an injury, the court needs to rule that they are necessary. This is when an experienced and successful personal injury firm, such as Arnold & Itkin becomes vital to the success of your Jones Act claim.
Our Louisiana Jones Act Lawyers Have Recovered Billions for Clients
If you work in the maritime industry in or near Louisiana and are considering utilizing the benefits provided in by the Jones Act, call Arnold & Itkin LLP at (888) 493-1629. We are experienced in this area of law and have won billions of dollars for our clients. Arnold & Itkin wants to be the team to fight back against the large maritime companies and strive toward making the industry a safer place.
Call our Louisiana Jones Act lawyers today for help at (888) 493-1629. Your consultation is free, confidential, and will help you easily discover what your options are.