Watching your loved one get on a barge or other commercial vessel can be devastating. The thoughts about the dangers are usually at the front of your mind while they are at work. While most people will return home to their family members without an incident after working on the waterways, there are some instances in which people might not return or when they come home injured. For these families, knowing about the Jones Act might help them to decide what steps to take from there.
The Jones Act is a federal act that covers people who work as officers or crewmembers on commercial vessels if they are injured or killed. In order for remedies to be awarded under this act, the complainant must prove that he or she was a seaman on a vessel. Generally, longshoreman and dock workers aren't classified as seamen. The complainant or decedent must be an employee of the vessel. People who are working on the vessel as non-employees who are injured aren't eligible for compensation under the Jones Act.
People who are seeking compensation under the Jones Act for a boating accident have the right to seek specific types of compensation. They can seek money for pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, pre-judgment interest, the value of room and board that the seaman would have been entitled to if he or she was still able to serve at sea, future medical expenses and past medical expenses.
Because the Jones Act is so specific, it is important for claimants to understand exactly how the act applies to their case. Not fully understanding the act can prove detrimental as you move forward with your claims.
Source: FindLaw, "Jones Act Overview" Aug. 07, 2014