Archive for November, 2011

Solo Ship Worker Was Still “Crew” Member Under Jones Act, Not LHWCA, Showed Jones Act Attorney

It’s important, noted a US Labor Department representative at a recent maritime safety conference in New Orleans, for a Jones Act attorney to be “part of the process of drawing useful lines between the Jones Act and the longshore workers act [LHWCA].” The representative was discussing the way the Labor Department has had to, as he put it, “pay attention to getting our longshore decisions right.” One policy under discussion is the (now) longstanding rule about how much discretion the Labor department has had in deciding when someone is either a seaman or a longshoreman. Many of the rules were hammered out in a Supreme Court decision, where a Jones Act attorney helped shape the LHWCA, too.

The question in the case, noted the Jones Act attorney, was whether Samuel Grant, called a bargeman, was entitled to compensation under either the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). Medical evidence obtained by his Jones Act attorney showed that Grant was hurt when a capstan bar, used to shift the barge at a pier, pulled out, hitting him full on the chest and causing him to fall. If Grant was a “master or member of a crew of any vessel,” then he would have had the rights of the Jones Act, because such jobs are expressly excluded from the coverage of the LHWCA, noted the Jones Act attorney.

The Deputy Commissioner found that Grant was a harbor worker, and not a “master or member of a crew,” and applied the LHWCA. The federal court of Appeals reversed, however, saying Grant was covered by the Jones Act, (in other words, said the Jones Act attorney, “was a seaman”) and not the LHWCA. The Jones Act attorney appealed to the Supreme Court.

Grant, noted the Jones Act attorney, was employed as a boatman on a barge that at the time of the injury was afloat on the navigable waters of the United States. The barge had no motive power of its own, and moved by towing or winding up of a cable, using a capstan. The Jones Act attorney also noted the oddities of calling the barge a “sea vessel,” which although “documented as a vessel of the United States,” it never went to sea, and was confined in its operations to a thirty miles radius.

The Jones Act attorney noted that the LHWCA system is broken up into compensation districts, with Deputy Commissioners reviewing the programs in each district. The Act gives Deputy Commissioners “full power and authority to hear and determine all questions in respect of compensation claims.” The findings of the Deputy Commissioner were once considered to be virtually final, but the Jones Act attorney emphasized many cases where courts had ample reason to overrule a mistake by the Commissioner. This, the Jones Act attorney noted, was going to be such a case.

Commissioner’s Error Described As Being “Major” By Jones Act Attorney

Historically, courts had given a large degree of finality to administrative decisions about who gets LHWCA coverage. A Jones Act attorney noted this “finality” was meant to help seamen, who would be hurt if the process were allowed to drag on. But, as the Jones Act attorney also noted, there were differences of opinion about whether the LHWCA was “better” for seamen than the Jones Act. In fact, the effort to bring a master and members of a crew under the LHWCA was successfully opposed by most of the union reps of maritime employees. And the maritime unions also filed a legal brief in Grant’s case, opposing LHWCA benefits to Grant under the facts, noted the Jones Act attorney.

Jones Act Attorney Will Help Decide How Jones Act Rules Match LHWCA Rights

The purpose of the LHWCA legislation, observed the Jones Act attorney, was to protect those who “are mainly employed in loading, unloading, refitting, and repairing ships.” Grant, pointed out the Jones Act attorney, seemed to do no work of the type usually called longshoring. Grant’s duties were “different” from usual “crew” work only inasmuch as they were shaped by the vessel’s own requirements. In other words, the Jones Act attorney showed Grant’s work was that of a seaman, regardless of the purpose of the vessel. The employment contract (introduced by the Jones Act attorney)  showed Grant’s pay was for “services to safeguard and operate the barge fleet.”

The US Supreme Court finally agreed with the Jones Act attorney, and even went a bit further, saying “(O)nly by a distorted definition of the word ‘crew,’ as used in the LHWCA, could Grant be restricted to the remedy which it affords, and excluded from recovery under the Jones Act or be denied relief in admiralty.”

Experts in labor safety have noted the important role of a Jones Act attorney in this case. In fact, many believe that regardless of the type of maritime injury, an experienced Jones Act attorney is crucial for an injured seaman. The Labor expert said “Many ‘longshoremen’ have been surprised to find out they really were covered by the Jones Act,” and—after medical treatment—needed an expert Jones Act attorney most of all.

Your Basic Right to a Jones Act Lawyer

Hiring a Jones Act lawyer is one of your basic rights under the Jones Act. Anytime you suffer a maritime injury on the job, you have the right to consult with an attorney. Your employer may try to convince you not to speak with an outside attorney. They may even go so far as to threaten you with your job. This is against the law – you are entitled to your own Jones Act lawyer. While you may not file a suit against your employer for your injuries, you should still consult with an attorney about your specific situation.

Jones Act Lawyer Helps Injured Louisiana Seaman

H. Williams, a seaman out of Louisiana, and his loved ones understand the importance of having the right to hire a Jones Act lawyer. Mr. Williams was severely injured while working on a factory trawler. On the day of the accident, Mr. Williams was doing nothing more than walking on the deck grating. A portion of the grating gave way and Mr. Williams fell through the grating. The fall resulted in several injuries, including an injury to the brain and the knee. Mr. Williams, following the advice of his family, consulted with a Jones Act lawyer for advice.

The Jones Act lawyer for Mr. Williams filed a claim against the employer. The grounds for the claim included an unseaworthy vessel and an unsafe working environment. The investigation revealed that the deck grating was not properly constructed or securely welded into place. The vessel was clearly unseaworthy and unsafe, not only for Mr. Williams, but for all crewmembers. The employer decided that a settlement negotiation was the best route to take. The Jones Act lawyer representing Mr. Williams was able to negotiate a settlement of $1.7 million for medical expenses and lost wages.

Consult a Jones Act Lawyer for Options

If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a maritime accident, contact a Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible. You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and related expenses, including surgeries and on-going physical therapies. Your Jones Act lawyer will discuss your options with you and help you make the best decision for your future.

Vessel Owner Failed To Prevent Jones Act Attorney From Having Jury Hear Entire Case

Alex Bean, a seaman, talked with a Jones Act attorney, who sued a vessel owner, Northern Shipping. Bean, based on detailed medical records obtained by the Jones Act attorney, had twisted and strained his back while working on Northern’s ship. His Jones Act attorney sought to prove $75,000 damages based on negligence, and $10,000 based on the vessel owner’s failing to give proper medical care, maintenance and cure, and wages. Bean’s negligence claim, created by the Jones Act, gave all seamen a jury trial “as of right,” noted the Jones Act attorney. A lawsuit for maintenance and cure didn’t [before the Jones Act attorney won this case] usually require the same trial by jury. The injured seaman’s Jones Act attorney in this case did demand a jury, since all the issues came out of a single accident. The trial judge granted a jury trial for the Jones Act and issues, but held the questions of maintenance and cure to decide by himself after the jury trial on the other issues. It was telling, pointed out the Jones Act attorney, that the vessel owner wanted to keep the Jones Act argument and the maintenance and cure case separated, even though they both came from exactly the same facts. The Jones Act attorney appealed the judge’s right to keep the maintenance and cure question from the jury.

Jones Act Attorney Fought For Seaman’s Right To One Trial, All Issues

For years, it had been a common, but not (as the Jones Act attorney showed) a “consistent” pattern for courts to have jury trials for both Jones Act (a) negligence and (b) maintenance and cure claims, when there was a single accident. The Jones Act attorney noted that courts using one trial did so because it “makes so much sense.” Requiring a seaman to split up his lawsuit ( part of it to a jury and part of it to a judge) ended up complicating and confusing the process, argued the Jones Act attorney.

The Jones Act attorney pointed out that it’s extremely hard for a judge, in trying a separate maintenance and cure claim, to always know what went into the separate damages awarded by a jury. For example, the Jones Act attorney listed several elements that might be used by a jury to decide damages: how loss of earning power was calculated, how much was allowed for medical expenses, how was pain and suffering estimated, how much for actual lost wages, and how much (if any) were damages reduced by any contributory negligence? The risks of these potential unknowns were increased by having separate trials for similar issues, noted the Jones Act attorney. “An end,” the Jones Act attorney insisted, “should be seen for these outdated and wasteful ways of trying a seaman’s case.”

Seaman’s Right To Choose Method Of Trial Was Defended By Jones Act Attorney

The US Constitution’s Seventh Amendment doesn’t require jury trials in non-Jones Act, admiralty cases, agreed the Jones Act attorney. But on the other hand, the Jones Act attorney emphasized, neither does any part of the Constitution forbid jury trials. When, as in this case, a particular way of having a trial is so confusing and time consuming that it puts unnecessary obstacles in the way of injured seamen seeking justice, the Jones Act attorney argued successfully, courts should fix the problem. Only one “trier of fact” should be used for a trial of what is really only one lawsuit. And since Congress, in the Jones Act, decided that the negligence part of a claim “shall” be tried by a jury, it’s not okay to require maintenance and cure claims to go to a judge alone. In this case, as the Jones Act attorney had requested, the jury had been the correct place to try all the claims, at once.

The US Supreme Court had agreed with the Jones Act attorney and said that a maintenance and cure claim (if filed with a Jones Act claim) “must be submitted to the jury” when both claims come from one set of facts. The seaman in this case was entitled to a jury trial “as of right” on the maintenance and cure claim. Many injured seamen may believe that they are receiving sufficient maintenance and cure…they may even decide not to see a Jones Act attorney, until they can’t work at all. This case, where the Supreme Court itself supported the seaman and the Jones Act attorney has a different message than “wait.” Immediately after a seaman’s injury, where any claim may be involved, it’s vital for the seaman to get advice from an experienced Jones Act attorney.

Independent Review Of Oil Rig Disaster Praised Jones Act Lawyer

A safety panel in Mexico, which studied a catastrophic oil rig blowout, said “many of the facts of what happened…and what shouldn’t happen again…were discovered due to the work of a Jones Act lawyer.” The lawsuit was based on an accident that occurred on a mobile drilling rig and oil production platform in Mexican territorial waters, just north of the Mexican coast, in the Gulf of Campeche. Because of the complications, the survivors sought the help of an experienced US Jones Act lawyer. In all, eighteen workers had died, and dozens more suffered severe injuries. In escaping the blowout, many of the life rafts used by some of the victims were battered apart by heavy seas. The seamen were all Mexican residents, and they were employed by Compañia Perforadora Central, or Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s state owned oil company. PEMEX owned the production platform and rented the drilling rig where the seamen were working at the time of the accident.

Survivors And Family Members’ Rights Were Defended By Jones Act Lawyer

The seamen’s surviving family members’ Jones Act lawyer presented evidence of negligence, gross negligence, products liability, and wrongful death. The law of these claims included rules from the Jones Act and also (since the Jones Act lawyer anticipated the employer’s defenses) a State’s laws or even the relevant laws of Mexico. The owners argued that the seamen’s surviving family members’ claims were barred from US courts. There were limits, acknowledged the Jones Act lawyer, but they shouldn’t apply, the Jones Act lawyer successfully argued, in the facts of this case. The owners argued that the seamen’s surviving family members’ complaint should be dismissed. The trial court agreed with the owners, but the Jones Act lawyer quickly appealed.

The Jones Act lawyer had already won a stipulation that the injured and killed were employed at the time of the incident by PEMEX, which was engaged in the exploration, development, and production of Mexican oil and gas resources. The Jones Act lawyer was to emphasize on appeal that American courts had decided these kinds of oil exploration cases, with foreign nationals, before.

Jones Act Lawyer Won Rights To US Court Under “Plain Meaning” Of Jones Act

The owners argued that the seamen’s surviving family members’ claims were barred a section of the Jones Act. In one of the only court decision addressing the issue, a court had actually held the opposite, proved the Jones Act lawyer. In that other case, the Jones Act “prevents (a foreign citizen’s claim in US court) only (if) brought under the maritime law of the United States” and not a claim brought pursuant to foreign laws (in that case,Mexico’s).

Other federal courts have also, emphasized the Jones Act lawyer, focused on the plain meaning of the Jones Act, because it makes no mention of foreign law claims, the Jones Act logically doesn’t bar foreign law claims. However, the court also said that it didn’t need to study the legislative history of the Act, since its “plain language” meant foreign laws are not barred.

The Jones Act lawyer also pointed to the few similar cases. Another court held that although the Jones Act prevented a Honduran seaman from suing for personal injuries under US law, it didn’t stop a federal court from deciding his claims under laws of (in that case) Nigeria, the United Kingdom, or France. The court in that case also looked into the “plain language” of the Jones Act and decided it had the power to decide foreign law claims, the Jones Act lawyer proved.

In another case mentioned by the Jones Act lawyer, the Supreme Court of at least one state (Texas) also decided that foreign law claims are not barred from state courts by the Jones Act. Finally, the appeals court itself agreed with the Jones Act lawyer, and said that the plain meaning of the Jones Act required that this case’s claims in a US court, based on both Mexican and international law, were not barred by the Jones Act. The appeals court denied the employer’s motion to dismiss the claims and allowed the case to go ahead.

In this case, the interests of American justice put a priority on giving seamen a “court of last resort” where they could find justice. A Jones Act lawyer recognized that the claims under these foreign laws affected all seamen. The Jones Act lawyer in the case eventually received high praise from Mexico’s independent oil safety panel, which had studied the catastrophic blowout. “The rights of the injured oil workers, affected families, and survivors were protected by an American Jones Act lawyer.”

Jones Act Attorney Defended Widow’s Rights Under Jones Act From Limited State Claims For Wrongful Death

Professor Henry Pearlman has studied important safety rules for seamen as a maritime engineer for the last thirty years. This work also brought him into contact with legal decisions, and the importance of getting help from an experienced Jones Act attorney when there’s an injury involved. As a popular lecturer at an annual conference in New Orleans, the Professor also singled out for praise a case where, as he put it, “a Jones Act attorney helped lead to a major change, to make sure the wrongful death of a seaman was no longer ignored.” The case Pearlman referred to was that of Alex Wolfe, usually a longshoreman, who was killed, while working as a seaman aboard the Golden Cress, within navigable US waters on the Gulf of Mexico. The man’s widow met with a Jones Act attorney. Knowing there were obstacles under the State’s laws, the Jones Act attorney worked for a new federal decision on the issue of wrongful death caused by unseaworthiness. The Jones Act attorney sued the owner of the vessel, to recover damages for wrongful death, and also for the pain and suffering experienced by Wolfe prior to his death.

Jones Act Attorney Successfully Appealed Supreme Court Ruling From Last Century

Both the vessel owner and Wolfe’s actual employer sought dismissal of the part of the widow’s complaint for wrongful death on the basis of unseaworthiness. They argued that maritime law gave no recovery for wrongful death within a State’s territorial waters. The District Court agreed and actually dismissed the wrongful death portion of the complaint, over the strong objection of the Jones Act attorney. The basis of the ruling, pointed out the Jones Act attorney, was a US Supreme Court case from long ago, in 1869. The Jones Act attorney succeeded in appealing the ruling against the widow, all the way up to the US Supreme Court, which agreed to review their old ruling.

Jones Act Attorney Showed States Reached Inconsistent Rules On Wrongful Death

American courts, the Jones Act attorney acknowledged, had generally adopted the English rule against allowing wrongful death in unseaworthiness claims, as the common law in America, too. But American courts for a hundred years, argued the Jones Act attorney, failed to produce any really satisfactory explanations for applying the rule in. Some courts explained their decisions based on the difficulty in calculating damages for a wrongful death, or by a “repugnance to setting a price upon human life.”

However, over time, some courts did calculate the loss to dependents, or by the estate of a deceased, the Jones Act attorney showed. Still, a seaman’s right to recover damages for injuries or death, caused by “unseaworthiness” of the ship, was an obscure and relatively little used right. Perhaps, the Jones Act attorney pointed out, because a shipowner’s duty back then was only to use “due diligence” to provide a seaworthy ship. Since this earlier time, pointed out the Jones Act attorney, the equation had changed. Individual cases had been won, where a Jones Act attorney helped transform a shipowner’s duty into an absolute duty not satisfied by “due diligence.” To put it another way, the Jones Act attorney said, the message of the Jones Act was that it didn’t ignore available state rights; but there was no intention that the Jones Act should rule out federal rights, either. One important goal was for all seamen to have the same rights, no matter where they were hurt, noted the Jones Act attorney…and the Supreme Court was ready to agree.

The Jones Act attorney noted that the Act was passed at almost the same time as the Death on the High Seas Act. This helped show, pointed out the Jones Act attorney, that the Act was intended to result in “uniformity in the exercise of admiralty” by giving seamen the same rights regardless of where the injury or death happened. The Act’s concern for uniformity, the Jones Act attorney had suggested, was harmed in this case by non-uniformity (having each state develop its own wrongful death laws for seamen). The Supreme Court agreed with the Jones Act attorney, reversed the 1869 case, and recognized the widow’s right to recover for wrongful death for unseaworthiness. This result, observed the Jones Act attorney, would help “assure uniform federal policies” about seaman’s rights under the Act.

Professor Pearlman noted this was a case where a Jones Act attorney was “as important as the entire Congress. The courage of this widow, and the help of one Jones Act attorney, changed a law that most courts by then had recognized as being a bad law…an unfair rule against injured seamen and their survivors. To this day, one lesson is that when a seaman is hurt, they should not give up. They should seek the help of an experienced and dedicated Jones Act attorney.”

Jones Act Helps Set Level Of Safety, Jones Act Lawyer Shows

A federal Labor Department seaman’s safety representative described the risks of a seaman’s daily life, pointing to statistics showing “seamen have among the most dangerous jobs in America.” To help make the maritime workplace safer, the Jones Act remains one of the most important safety acts in the industry. The labor representative noted there are also other safety standards, often negotiated by employers with employee associations or unions, and sometimes with a Jones Act lawyer, to have even higher safety standards. The labor department spokesman commented that “talking with a Jones Act lawyer is a sort of additional insurance to have those rights protected.”

In a recent case, a Jones Act lawyer tried to introduce agreements about workplace safety. The trial court (incorrectly) refused to let the Jones Act lawyer use the evidence. On appeal, the Jones Act lawyer argued successfully that the trial court should have allowed these two contracts into evidence. The Jones Act lawyer pointed out that they had been signed by vessel owners, and made promises to observe certain safety standards. In this case, noted the Jones Act lawyer, there were actually two separate contracts. One was between vessel owners and the general contractor for the project…which included safety rules for the workers, said the Jones Act lawyer. The other agreement was between vessel owners and the injured seaman’s union (a collective bargaining agreement). That second agreement, proved the Jones Act lawyer, had even more safety requirements. For example, showed the Jones Act lawyer, for vessel owners to comply with safety rules of the State’s Construction Safety Orders about “Runways for Foot Traffic.” These rules were especially important, since the accident in the case was shown by the Jones Act lawyer to have happened on a gangplank:

“a. Except as provided elsewhere, ramps or runways erected for the use of workmen shall be not less than 20 inches in width, and shall be supported so as to avoid deflection or springing action.”

Jones Act Lawyer Explained How Contracts Added Extra Protections For Seamen

The Jones Act lawyer said the parties had a contractual right to specify a higher “standard of care” to be used than that established by the Jones Act. This right to more safety, the Jones Act lawyer was to show, gave certain rights to the injured seaman as a “beneficiary” of the contract. In other words, the seaman was entitled to the protection of the standards in the Jones Act, and also under the contract, the Jones Act lawyer said.

The vessel owners argued that the federal Jones Act was “supreme” over all other safety rules, so that “state safety orders” couldn’t apply. The employer tried to argue (unsuccessfully) that allowing these kinds of private agreements would put a state’s laws too much into the federal Act. That argument, the Jones Act lawyer insisted, “misses the point.” The Jones Act lawyer took the employer’s argument apart, by pointing out that the Jones Act seems to “welcome” higher standards for safety. Vessel owners voluntarily contracted to follow certain additional safety rules. The Jones Act lawyer also suggested the source of the wording in the agreement “was irrelevant.” Besides, these higher safety standards wouldn’t even be from any action of the State, observed the Jones Act lawyer. The higher safety rules came strictly from agreements of the parties, the Jones Act lawyer had proven.

“Better Safety” Is A Good Thing, Argued Jones Act Lawyer

The Jones Act lawyer knew there were no earlier court decisions on this question, so it was an important case. But since the effect of the agreements was to raise or make more definite the standard of care required, public policy, the Jones Act lawyer stressed, would favor the agreements and the admitting them as evidence.

The Jones Act lawyer did point out one similar case, where an injured employee had sued under the Federal Employers Liability Act— an act similar to the Jones Act, mentioned the Jones Act lawyer. The court in that case did consider an agreement between the employee’s union and the employer, where a standard of care had safety rules over and above the federal law. In that case, the court admitted evidence of those safety standards. The appeals court agreed with the Jones Act lawyer, and said the contracts and the negotiated safety standards were relevant to the vessel owner’s liability. As the Jones Act lawyer had asked, these important safety agreements and contracts were then ordered to be received into evidence.

In any case involving an injury, a seaman should get help right away. As this case showed, there’s always a chance that there are also safety rules in addition to the Jones Act. Consulting with a Jones Act lawyer will uncover a seaman’s full rights to all safety standards.

Jones Act Lawyers Fight to Establish Negligence

When you make a Jones Act claim, there is a requirement in place that you must prove that your employer was negligent. Proving negligence is a prerequisite to recovering under the Jones Act, unlike under other acts covering maritime injuries such as the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. A Jones Act attorney can help you to meet your burden of proving negligence, but it is essential that you understand exactly how negligence is determined and what is required of you.

How Negligence is Determined Under a Jones Act Claim

Although Jones Act claims can sometimes settle, such claims are often taken to court where a jury will make a determination on whether the defendant was negligent or not. A plaintiff who was injured aboard a maritime vessel will begin the process of a Jones Act claim by filing a lawsuit, and it will be the burden of the plaintiff to prove that his or her employer was negligent in order to recover damages.

To meet the burden of proving negligence, the plaintiff must show that his or her attorney breached a legal duty that was owed. Employers owe their employees a duty to show reasonable care for their safety. This means taking reasonable precautions to make sure the sea vessel, ocean vessel, oilrig or other working location is safe for employees. This also means having reasonable safety policies and procedures in place to protect workers safety.

When an employer fails in these duties, as determined by what would have been reasonable in the situation, the employer is considered negligent. Therefore, a plaintiff must show what would have been reasonable, and must show how the employer fell short. Doing this can require the testimony of expert witnesses, as well as testimony from eyewitnesses to the accident. Other evidence may also be required such as photographs from the scene of the accident, ship maintenance records and evidence of employer policy. A Jones Act attorney can help injured plaintiffs to gather the evidence that is necessary in order to successfully show that the employer was negligent.

It is also necessary to show that the negligence was the direct or proximate cause of any injury that occurred to the plaintiff, and that the injury was foreseeable. This means proving that the employer’s breach of his duty of care was the actual cause of some injury that could have been anticipated as a result of the negligence. Again, expert witnesses and expert testimony may be necessary for a plaintiff to prove this aspect of his claim and a Jones Act attorney can help to make sure a plaintiff has the necessary proof.

A plaintiff must meet the burden of proof not by proving these things beyond a reasonable doubt- as in a criminal case- but instead by proving that more likely than not the defendant was negligent and the negligence led to harm. With the help of a Jones Act lawyer, this is a standard of proof that many injured plaintiffs can meet in order to make successful Jones Act claims.

Why Should I Hire a Jones Act Attorney?

If you have been injured aboard an ocean or sea vessel or while working on an offshore oilrig, you have a number of important decisions to make. A Jones Act attorney can assist you in making the correct choices to protect your legal rights. While there are many reasons to hire a Jones Act attorney, here are the top three.

1)      A Jones Act Attorney will assist you in determining what the correct type of claim is to file.

After an accident or injury on a boat or ocean/sea vessel, you may file a claim for compensation through one of several potential sources. You may be able to file a state workers compensation claim. You may also be able to file a claim under the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation act.  However, doing either of these things can impact your right to file a Jones Act claim. This can be a bad thing, since the recovery under workers compensation or the Longshoreman Compensation Act is determined by administrative laws.

With a Jones Act claim, your compensation includes damages that you do not receive under either administrative law system. Such damages include payments for pain and suffering, which can be significant.

A Jones Act lawyer will help you to evaluate all of your options so you can make sure you take the legal action that will provide you with the greatest possible damages for the injuries you suffered.

2)      A Jones Act attorney will assist you in proving lost wages

Proving lost wages is necessary to get the full compensation that you deserve after an injury aboard an ocean or sea vessel. Sometimes, even an injury that seems relatively minor can have a lifelong impact on your ability to perform maritime work due to the physically demanding nature of such work. If you earning potential is compromised and your income reduced, you should be paid damages for this loss. A Jones Act attorney will help you to conclusively prove that your income was reduced so you can collect these damages.

3)      A Jones Act attorney will help you to prove negligence

Unlike a workers compensation claim, you can’t simply show that you were injured in order to recover under the Jones Act. You must show that your employer was negligent in some way. Proving negligence can be a difficult challenge and it is your burden as a person making the claim to succeed in getting this proof.

Many people who make a Jones Act claim don’t understand the legal standard used to determine negligence and don’t understand what types of evidence are necessary to meet this burden of proof.

A Jones Act attorney can help. Your lawyer will assist you in identifying witnesses, hiring experts to testify on your behalf and otherwise doing anything necessary to conclusively show that your employer breached his legal duty to you.

By helping you to prove this breach, your Jones Act attorney helps to ensure your claim has the best possible chances of being successful and of netting you the damages that the law entitles you to.

Jones Act Lawyer Explains Difference in Jones Act and LHWCA

When you suffer a maritime injury, there are a number of different laws that can potentially be implicated in order to provide you with recourse. In some cases, you can simply make a claim with your state worker’s compensation board, which is a simple claim to make in most cases as long as you are a covered employee since there is no requirement of proving negligence.

However, there are also two options for making a legal claim that are limited only to maritime injuries. These options are the Jones Act and the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers compensation act. Understanding the differences between these acts and making a decision on which Act to file under is complicated and you should always seek advice from a Jones Act attorney before making your choice. It is also helpful to have an understanding of some of the basic differences so you will understand better the options that your Jones Act lawyer  presents to you.

The Jones Act vs. the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

The most fundamental difference between the Jones Act and the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation Act is the amount of compensation that you can receive. When you make a claim through the Longshoreman’s Act, your payments are determined based on administrative regulations. This means that instead of all details of your case being evaluated in order to determine how to make you whole for your injuries, you will be paid based on an amount determine appropriate in the administrative system that the U.S. Department of Labor oversees. In many cases, this means you will not receive as much compensation as you would if you made a Jones Act claim.

A related difference between the two Acts deals with how they are decided. With the Jones Act, unlike the Longshoreman’s Act, you have the opportunity to present your case in court before a judge or a jury. The judge/jury will then be the ones who decide how much compensation is appropriate for your case. They will decide this based on the actual amount of both economic and non-economic damages suffered. This means your compensation will include things like your medical bills and your lost income, but also things like damages for pain and suffering you endure.

Because a Jones Act claim is decided in court and damages are similar to tort damages instead of determined by an administrative system, the damage awards are often significantly higher for a Jones Act claim than for a claim under the Longshoreman’s Act. This means that it is absolutely essential to speak with a Jones Act attorney before you make a claim, as you can give up your Jones Act rights if you make a Longshoreman’s Act claim instead. Your Jones Act lawyer will help to make sure you make the claim that will provide you with the largest possible damage award.

Finally, a Jones Act claim requires that you prove negligence, which is not required by the Longshoreman’s Act. This means that your Jones Act attorney will need to help you to meet this burden of proof if you wish to file a claim for recovery under this act.