The Jones Act Allows Family of Deceased Seaman to Pursue Survival Claims

FEBRUARY 22, 2011 by Bill Abbott

Tennessee Jones Act lawyers understand that the Jones Act is well known for protecting seaman who are injured in the course of their maritime employment by providing them with maintenance and cure benefits. It is likely that the majority of cases that are handled by Tennessee Jones Act lawyers are of this variety. However, in some cases, a maritime accident can be so severe that it causes the death of a maritime worker. In these cases, Tennessee Jones Act lawyers are aware of the fact that the Jones Act allows the family of the deceased seaman to pursue a survival claim on the seaman’s behalf. Bowoto v. Chevron Corp., 621 F.3d 1116 (9th Cir. 2010).

Tennessee Jones Act lawyers are familiar with the large body of case law that surrounds wrongful maritime death actions. For example, a wrongful death claim that is brought under the Jones Act may only be filed against an employer for negligence. The Jones Act does not provide a remedy against defendants who are not maritime employers. Additionally, permissible plaintiffs under the Jones Act include “the surviving widow or husband and children of the employee; and if none, the employee’s parents or next of kin who are dependent upon the maritime employee.” Evich v. Connelly, 759 F.2d 1432 (9th Cir.1985)

To demonstrate the extent of the class of plaintiffs that are permitted in wrongful death cases under the Jones Act, we can look to the case of Evich v. Connelly. In that case the court determined that the non-dependent siblings of a deceased seaman were not eligible to recover for his death under the Jones Act. The fact that the plaintiffs in this case were not legal dependents of the seaman does not mean that they may not be able to bring a claim under a different statute or other principles of maritime law. Experienced Tennessee Jones Act lawyers can evaluate the facts surrounding an incident to determine if a claim exists under the Jones Act or another maritime statute.

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