The Jones Act is a federal law that enables injured seamen to recover specific types and amounts of compensation and benefits when their vessels are declared unseaworthy. Only injured seamen have the right to compensation through the Jones Act.
Other shipyard or longshore workers have the right to compensation through workers comp or the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). However, if you seek compensation through a Jones Act lawsuit, your case could take longer than expected. You may need an advance on a settlement to cover your costs now.
When this happens, High Rise Financial is here to help you get the pre-settlement funds you need when you need them most.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a federal law that provides benefits and financial support to injured seamen. There are two primary types of claims available under the Jones Act. These include maintenance and care claims and negligence-based claims.
Maintenance & Cure Claims
In a maintenance and care claim, the Jones Act provides compensation to injured seamen to cover all their medical expenses related to their work injury (cure) and compensation for their necessary daily living expenses (maintenance). Examples of cure benefits could include:
- Diagnostic testing fees
- Medical equipment
- Medical devices
- Home accommodations
- Transportation costs
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Ongoing mental health counseling
Examples of maintenance benefits could include:
- Utility expenses
- Phone and Internet
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Insurance premiums
- Toiletries and gas
It is important to note that it does not matter who is responsible for causing your injuries in a maintenance and cure Jones Act claim. Your employer will be required to cover these costs without regard to liability.
Negligence-based claims under the Jones Act allow injured seamen to seek compensation for every loss they experienced due to their employer’s negligent actions. Employers must maintain safe working conditions on the boat or ship, make necessary repairs, and ensure seamen have access to the materials and equipment they need to do their jobs safely.
Whenever a vessel is considered unseaworthy, the maritime employer could be held accountable and required to compensate the injured seamen for their damages accordingly. For your negligence-based Jones Act claim to be successful, your attorney must show that the captain, vessel owner, or crew member was negligent and that this negligence caused your injuries.
Potentially Recoverable Damages
Negligence-based Jones Act claims allow injured seamen to recover compensation for the same damages they could be awarded if they file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party. Examples of potentially recoverable damages under the Jones Act include:
- Compensation for your current and future loss of income
- Compensation for your future medical expenses
- Compensation for your loss of employee benefits, including health insurance and retirement savings contributions
- Physical pain and suffering and emotional distress
- Disfigurement, skin scarring, and permanent disability
It should be noted that if you filed a claim for maintenance and cure, and your medical expenses were already covered through that claim, you cannot be awarded double compensation for your medical bills. However, any medical costs not covered in your maintenance and care claim can be recovered.
Additionally, when injured seamen suffer damages, the court system has the authority to award interest on top of the financial compensation the liable party must pay.
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Who Is a Seaman According to the Jones Act?
It is important to remember that only injured seamen have the authority to file claims under the Jones Act. Anyone who works on or near any boat, ship, or vessel may be considered a seaman. This includes crewmembers and ship captains as well.
Generally, workers must spend at least 30% of their time working on a qualified ship to meet the eligibility requirements of a seaman. Your attorney can help you understand whether you meet these strict criteria or whether applying for benefits under the LHWCA is more appropriate.
Unseaworthiness in the Jones Act
According to the Jones Act, employers can be held accountable for their seamen’s injuries anytime the boat or a vessel is unseaworthy. These laws are incredibly victim-friendly and cover any type of unsafe working conditions, such as:
- Lack of or improperly maintained equipment
- Dangerous work message
- Oil or grease on the deck
- Failure to provide proper equipment
- Defective or malfunctioning equipment
- Coworker assault
- Improper or insufficient seamen or crew training
- Inadequate hiring practices
What Is the Burden of Proof Under the Jones Act?
In criminal court, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil court, the burden of proof is based on a preponderance of the evidence. But when you file a claim under the Jones Act, the burden of proof is even lower.
Here, your lawyer will need to prove that your employer’s negligent actions contributed to your injuries somehow. Even if their contribution is minor, if your employer’s reckless or negligent conduct had anything to do with your injuries, they can be held accountable under the Jones Act.
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Apply for Legal Funding and Access Some of Your Jones Act Settlement
Jones Act claims can be particularly complex. While your maritime injury lawyer handles the legalities of your case, you can get an advance on your anticipated Jones Act settlement. High Rise Financial can help you get through some of the most trying times of your life by giving you access to a portion of your settlement funds ahead of time.
Please find out more about how our loan application works, the eligibility requirements, and the value of your Jones Act pre-settlement funds when you contact our team to discuss the specific details of your case.
Get an Advance on Your Settlement Today
If you are interested in accessing the Jones Act settlement funds you deserve ahead of time so you can cover your costs and start to move forward with your life, do not hesitate to contact our experienced loan specialists at High Rise Financial.
There is no reason to wait when your settlement is in limbo. High Rise Financial is here to get you the pre-settlement funding you deserve. Please complete our online application, complete our quick contact form, or call our office to discuss your financial needs today.