Jones Act Attorney Serving all of Alaska
Pursuing Compensation for injuries sustained at sea
Crewmen and women who work aboard ships, boats, barges and other commercial vessels in Alaska are no stranger to dangerous work conditions. While people who work on the ocean clearly accept a certain level of risk, that doesn’t mean that their employers should not be held responsible in the case of serious injury or death. With a death rate of 116 per 100,000 workers (and several thousand more injured each year) being a commercial fisherman is the most dangerous job in America.
Crewmen aboard ships, boats, barges, tug boats, commercial fishing vessels, cruise ships, tour boats, and tankers, in navigable waters at sea, in rivers, lakes, bays, and sounds, are entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, when they are injured or die through the negligence of their employer.
The Jones Act provides protection for crew members and workers on any commercial boat on navigable waters such as oceans, large lakes, rivers and channels. The Jones Act also provides coverage for employees who work on the water even if they are injured while they’re not on the water. For example, if your boat is at port and you drive to another location to pick up or drop off supplies, you are covered by the Jones Act while you are doing that driving. If you get in a car accident while running an errand at port, any loss or injury sustained while doing that driving is still covered.
According to 46 U.S.C.A. § 30104, “A seaman injured in the course of employment or, if the seaman dies from the injury, the personal representative of the seaman may elect to bring a civil action at law, with the right of trial by jury, against the employer.”
This basically means that you have the right to pursue compensation from your employer, but it does not necessarily make receiving that compensation easy or automatic. You need to prove that your employer contributed to your injury either directly, or through negligence.
Proving Negligence in Seaman in Jones Act Injury Cases
While an injured seaman may elect to bring a civil action (lawsuit) against their employer, three basic elements need to be satisfied to recover damages:
- The Plaintiff must establish that he or she was an employee of the Defendant and acting within the scope of employment at the time of the injury.
This means that what you were doing at the time of your injury needed to be directly related to your job on the boat.
- There must be some element of negligence on the part of the ship-owner.
This means that the boat owner or employer created an environment where the injury was more likely to occur, typically because of a lack of adherence to good general practices or safe-workplace regulations.
- The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant’s Negligence in some way contributed to the injury.This means that the dangerous work condition, lack of maintenance to equipment or other issue with the work environment or boat contributed to the injury.
If you or a loved one have been injured or died at sea as a result of a work-related accident, Todd Young can help. For information about Admiralty & Maritime Law, the Jones Act or how to start the process of pursuing compensation for your injuries, call the law office of Todd Young today for a free initial consultation. He handles cases through out the state of Alaska and can work with you over the phone or email to get the process started.