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How can crew members get compensation for their injuries?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2021 | Admiralty And Maritime Law

If you are a crew member of a vessel in navigation and got hurt on the job, you have the right to sue your employer if their negligence caused your injuries. As a riverboat or maritime worker, you do not have worker’s compensation rights for your injuries. However, the Jones Act protects you in this situation.

Proving negligence

The Jones Act allows maritime and riverboat workers to sue their employer if an accident happens. To get compensation for your injuries, you need to prove that they resulted from your employer’s negligence. Negligence can occur if your employer did not comply with the safety measures or if they knew about a problem with the vessel but did nothing to fix it, and then you got hurt because of that defect.

Lawsuit eligibility

Unfortunately, not everyone can sue for an employer’s negligence. The law states that an injured crew member cannot start a civil action against an employer if:

  • They are not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States
  • The incident occurred in the territorial waters of another country that is not the United States
  • They were employed by a person engaged in exploration, development or production of mineral or energy sources.

Also, the Jones Act does not cover all maritime workers. To get compensation, the person must be assigned to a vessel in navigation, spend at least 30% of his working time on the vessel and contribute to its functions.


If you win the lawsuit, you will get compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and physical and mental damages. You must keep in mind that you need to file the claim within 3 years after the injury. Otherwise, your civil action won’t be valid. If your employer fails to compensate you, you have the right to ask for punitive damages. It is your right as a crew member to recover from your injuries, and your employer must abide by the law.


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