What Are a Seaman’s Rights under the Jones Act?


If you’re a seaman who has suffered a serious injury, you may be able to file a claim against your employer under the Jones Act. This will allow you to obtain the compensation you need to continue supporting yourself and your family while you recuperate from your injuries. Below, we discuss which workers are considered to be seamen and what you need to do in order to win your case.

Which Workers Are Considered Seamen?

For a worker to be classified as a seaman, they will need to do a significant amount of their work on any type of vessel. This could include a boat, cruise ship, ferry boats, or barges, to name a few. If you are a part-time employee who works on a vessel, you must devote at least 30 percent of your hours to this work to qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act.

Due to the fact that maritime law, and the Jones Act, are quite complex, if you’ve been injured at work and you aren’t sure whether or not you’ll be considered a seaman who can file a claim under the Jones Act, you should speak with a New Orleans Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible.

Negligence and Proving Unseaworthiness

Now that we’ve established which maritime employees are considered seamen, you may be wondering how you’ll prove employer liability. Thankfully, the Jones Act is one of the most employee-friendly laws across the United States.

Under the Jones Act, your employer is required to provide a safe work environment for every employee at every moment. This means that they are obligated to correct any safety hazards immediately so that seamen are able to work in reasonably safe conditions.

If at any point your employer fails to maintain this safe work environment, then the vessel you work on may be deemed unseaworthy and your employer may be found negligent. Even if some other contributing factor is primarily responsible for the cause of your injuries, your employer being even 1 percent at fault enables you to bring a claim against them under the Jones Act.

Damages You’re Entitled To

Once we establish liability, you’ll be able to obtain the compensation that’s rightfully yours. This includes coverage for the following losses:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship and love
  • Property damages
  • Damage to your earning capacity
  • Inconvenience

You’re also entitled to maintenance and cure. Maintenance is the coverage of your household expenses, including utilities, your rent or mortgage, and groceries, while cure refers to the coverage of every medical expense you incur as a result of your at-sea and offshore injuries.

Get in Touch with a Jones Act Lawyer in New Orleans

When you aren’t sure if you can file a claim under the Jones Act, or if you have additional questions regarding your rights as a seaman, reach out to an experienced New Orleans Jones Act lawyer at Braud & Gallagher as soon as possible. Simply fill out the online contact form below or give our office a call at 1-800-256-5674.