Understanding your rights as a Tennessee maritime worker is a significant step in protecting these rights in the event of an injury suffered during the commission of your job duties. The Jones Act is a federal law that protects the interests of maritime workers, and it is beneficial for you to understand what this law means for you and the specific protections it provides.
Maritime workers are not eligible for traditional workers' compensation benefits, but there are ways that they can seek care and recover financial losses in the event of a work accident. Under the Jones Act, these workers may bring a civil claim against their employer, an option generally not available to most onshore workers.
Who is eligible for a claim under the Jones Act?
Just because you work on a boat or in a shipyard does not necessarily mean that you are eligible for a civil claim under the Jones Act. However, you may be eligible if this specific law covers the vessel in navigation on which you work. Additionally, you may have grounds for a civil claim if your accident and injuries are the result of the negligence of your employer.
The Jones Act most likely applies to you if you are the master, captain or crew member of a vessel and spend at least 30 percent of your work time on a vessel in navigation.
What can I recover through a civil claim?
If you experienced an injury while working on a maritime vessel, you need financial resources to support yourself during recovery and compensate you for your expenses. Some of what you may be able to recover through this type of claim include:
- Costs of medical care
- Lost wages and loss of future wages
- Compensation for disability and permanent impairment
- Restitution for pain and suffering
- Loss of ability to enjoy life
The amount you could recover depends largely on the nature of your injury and the type of financial loss you experienced as the result of your work accident.
Filing a Jones Act claim can be complex, but you do not have to navigate the process alone. You have the right to seek guidance in order to more effectively walk through the necessary steps, as well as to gain a better understanding of your rights and entitlements. Your life may be significantly different because of a maritime accident, but you can fight for a fair recovery and a stronger future.