What is Needed to Prove a Jones Act Case?

Jason Markey


The Jones Act is a federal law that allows seamen to sue their employer for personal injuries sustained during their work, which could either be due to the employer’s negligence, bad policies, unsafe working environment, or other factors. To know if a seaman can make a Jones act claim, you must first know what is considered employer’s negligence under the Jones act. You can click site to find out more about this. 

What is considered Negligence Under The Jones Act?

The following actions are considered negligence under the Jones act.

  • When an employer takes an action that a normally prudent person would not take.
  • When an employer fails to take the necessary action that a normally prudent person would take.
  • When an employer fails to implement safety measures to avoid causing injuries to his employees.

Although there are certain risks involved in maritime, the Jones Act mandates maritime employers to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Therefore, employers must ensure the following:

  • There are no dangerous obstacles, such as unsecured cargo and slippery substances (oil and grease), on the vessel’s deck.
  • All equipment is kept in good condition and is regularly inspected for defects.
  • All crew members aboard are properly trained and qualified for the job.
  • The tools and equipment necessary for work are provided.
  • Ensure that the crew members do not engage in physical confrontations. 
  • Ensure that due caution is taken against storms and harsh weather conditions
  • Create and implement safe and efficient operational procedures

Seamen can also file a suit claiming negligence on the part of an employer when:

  • They are subjected to work overtime.
  • There is a lack of proper supervision, which results in an accident 
  • Lack of medical assistance when an injury occurs.

Three Things Necessary for Proving a Jones Act Case 

Not every injury is eligible for a Jones act case. To make a Jones act claim, the employee must be able to prove the following things.

The Injury Happened During the Work

There are certain requirements needed for a person to be considered under the Jones act. You must first prove that you meet the requirements of a seaman and also provide proof that the injury occurred in the course of your work.

The Employer Contributed to The Injury. 

You must be able to prove that the injury is a result of the employer’s negligence. That is, you should be able to show that the injury would not have occurred if the company had acted in a certain way. Most employers often fight claims of negligence, so you would need extensive and credible proof to win the case. 

You Incurred Losses From the Injury

You must be able to prove what you’ve lost as a result of the injuries you sustained. It could either be financial losses or physical and emotional damages from the injury.

Steps to Carry Out After Sustaining an Injury 

Report the injury to Your employer

If you sustain an injury while working, don’t hesitate to report to the captain or a senior officer immediately. The federal regulations provide you with a seven- days time frame to report a work-sustained injury for a Jones Act to claim. Not reporting an injury immediately may make it difficult to claim personal injury.

Seek Medical Assistance Onboard

It is important to seek medical assistance from the ship’s medical personnel. Even if the injury doesn’t seem significant, having medical proof is always an advantage.

File a Report 

Ensure that the officer onboard documents the injury in the ship’s log. Also, you will be required to fill out a report of the accident. It is important that you provide full details in your report. Oftentimes, employers try to coerce injured maritime workers into taking the blame for the accident. If you’re unsure if the employer’s negligence causes the accident, you can seek legal help.

Contact a Maritime Attorney 

If you suspect that the injury is eligible for a Jones act claim, then you should consult a maritime attorney who specializes in handling Jones act cases. Especially, If you’re being coerced to sign any document or your rights are being violated.

Before contacting a maritime attorney, make sure you have all the necessary documents that relate to your case. This includes your medical reports, reports of the accident, etc. Never make false statements about the accident 

Always make sure to document everything that happened throughout the process of your injury. This will help you immensely as the case progresses.

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