JULY 22, 2011 by Ogletree Abbott

The next time you head off to your job in the maritime industry, stop and think for a moment about the “what ifs”. What if you were injured in a Jones Act accident? How would you pay your medical expenses? Who would pay your living expenses while you healed from your injury? What would happen to you and your family if your injury left you disabled? These questions may not be pretty questions but they are ones that need answers. You need to understand your rights as a maritime worker under the Jones Act. You need to know what you will do if you are ever hurt on the job.
Back injuries are some of the most common injuries sustained from Jones Act accidents. If you think about it, this makes sense. When you are working aboard a moving vessel, especially in rough seas and bad weather, you not only have to put additional strain on your back just to keep your balance, slips and falls happen all too often. A seaman that hurt his back recently settled his Jones Act claim against his employer. The seaman was working aboard a vessel at sea during less-than-ideal weather and water conditions. The rough seas led to more and more water being thrown on the already-slippery deck. Even in these conditions, the seaman was still ordered to clean up as much of the water as possible. Needless to say, he slipped, fell and hurt his back.
With the help of an experienced Jones Act lawyer, the injured seaman sought compensation for his injury in court. A claim was filed and his attorney argued several aspects, including negligence. The employer was negligent in sending the seaman to perform what was essentially a pointless and dangerous task. The seas were rough, the weather was bad and there was no reason to worry about wet decks at that particular time. The employer’s negligence and bad judgment led to the fall and the injury. The case settled for $550,000.
If you, or someone you know, have been the victim of an employer’s negligence and bad judgment, contact an attorney for advice. Jones Act accidents can be quite serious – they can, after all, inhibit your ability to financially support your family. Take action and let a professional garner the settlement you deserve.


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