You may have been working aboard a merchant ship since you were old enough to go to sea. On the other hand, you may have just completed your first six months as a crew member on a commercial fishing vessel. The job is exciting but dangerous, and if you suffered an injury, you may be wondering if you can claim compensation.
Whether you are a seaman, deckhand or the captain of a cruise ship, you are entitled to compensatory damages under the Jones Act in addition to any other compensation that might be available.
Maintenance and cure
Under general maritime law, merchant seamen who suffer an injury in their work can receive maintenance and cure. Maintenance speaks to pay for room and board while the seaman is recovering from the injuries. The term cure refers to medical care and treatment related to the actual cure for the injury rather than the pain involved.
Jones Act provisions
The Jones Act, instituted in 1920 along with the Merchant Marine bill, provides for compensation to those who suffer injury because of negligence by the owner of a vessel, the captain or a crew member. In other words, if you receive an injury on the job, you can sue those responsible. Compensation may be due to you for medical bills and expenses as well as future medical costs not covered under maintenance and cure in general maritime law. Compensation can extend to lost wages, lost earning capacity and even loss of enjoyment of life if you suffered a severe injury or disability.
Seeking help from a maritime lawyer
Maybe you received an injury when your ship collided with another or was not seaworthy. You may have been hurt because the crew ignored safety standards or because equipment was not properly secured on the deck. Do not delay in seeking legal assistance. An attorney experienced with admiralty law can help you achieve your goal of obtaining appropriate compensation under both the Jones Act and general maritime law.