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Accidents > Maritime Law

The Jones Act is a federal maritime law that provides for benefits to workers who are injured on sea going vessels on navigable waters and offshore oil rigs which can be towed and are not permanently affixed to the ocean floor. Whether you are a seaman, an officer, a harbor pilot, an oil worker, a technician, a helicopter pilot, work on a tugboat, barge, ship, supply boat, semi-submersible drilling rig, jack-up drilling rig or if you become injured on or near the water, you should talk to a lawyer before making a claim or as soon as possible thereafter.

Benefits include maintenance and cure. Maintenance is daily pay to workers who are unable to work pursuant to doctor’s orders. Cure includes medical care, doctors, hospitals and prescriptions drugs.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that a Maritime Law case is a workers' compensation case. Workers' Compensation laws are passed by the various States with relatively small cash settlements. The Jones Act is a federal law involving very high cash settlements if the slightest negligence is involved or unseaworthiness of the vessel.

Unlike workers’ compensation and Longshore-Harbor Worker Act cases, there is no State or federal agency involved in the administration of claims. Injured workers that could be covered under the this law should be careful about making claims under workers’ compensation or the Longshore-Harbor Workers’ Act. It is possible to lose rights if the worker elects benefits under other laws. If you have mistakenly made a claim under the wrong law, call us immediately to see if we can put things right.

Settlements in maritime law cases can be significant and complex. Injured workers should consult with a lawyer early in the case and be aware of the employer’s desire to minimize their losses.

Some employers will attempt to discourage workers from obtaining information about their legal rights and will try to get workers to file claims under workers' compensation instead of the Jones Act. If an employer is unwilling to fairly compensate Jones Act workers, a lawsuit can be filed in federal district court seeking damages, however most cases are settled prior to trial.

Because weekly payments are sometimes inadequate or if payments from employers cease, law firms may advance money to Jones Act clients to help them pay their bills. Money loaned to clients is collected from the final settlement or judgment.

If you think you may have a Jones Act claim, please contact us using the form located on this page or by calling our toll free number 1-800-923-6376.

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