People who have suffered injuries while performing their jobs as members of a boat crew are likely to be frightened and confused. Their injuries may leave them unable to work and in dire need of extended medical care. Despite this, these people cannot seek payments through workers’ compensation insurance plans.
Instead, it is necessary for injured crew members to seek compensation directly from the boat’s owner. This requires them to prove that the boat owner’s negligence led to the injury. Understandably, this can be a daunting task.
An Ocean Springs Crew Boat Accident Lawyer may be able to help. They can work to explain how federal laws control workplace accidents that occur on navigable water. A skilled maritime injury attorney could then work to pursue negligent bosses for the compensation needed to set things right.
The maritime industry occupies a unique position under federal labor laws. Most significantly, the owners of these vessels never need to provide workers’ compensation insurance to members of their crew. However, this exemption only applies to people who fit under the definition of seamen according to federal law.
The Jones Act, codified at 46 United States Code §30104, is the federal statute that creates this exemption. It states that “seamen” have a private cause of action to hold negligent boat owners liable for all workplace injuries. This means that we need to understand what the law means by seaman.
There is no set rule that provides a definition. Instead, courts have consistently held that a seaman is any worker who spends at least 30 percent of their working hours on a vessel that travels on navigable water. As a result, nearly every crew boat worker who goes out on trips will qualify under this definition. A skilled Ocean Springs Crew Boat Accident Attorney could help to provide more information about the Jones Act and its impact on crew injuries.
As stated above, the Jones Act says that injured crew members must demand payments for their losses from negligent employers. These cases take place in United States District Courts. Additionally, hurt employees must prove that it was a boat owner’s negligence that caused their losses. Examples can include:
It is the burden of a hurt crew member to prove these facts in court. However, many claims end short of this point. As with any other personal injury claim, a better alternative may be to work towards a settlement. An Ocean Springs crew member accident attorney could help to gather evidence of boat owner negligence and to demand proper payments both in and out of court.
Injured crew members can be in a difficult position. You may require significant medical treatment to get back to health. At the same time, you are likely missing work that takes money out of your pocket and food off the table. Sadly, boat owners are exempt from the usual rules that require employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their workers. Instead, the Jones Act states that injured crew members must sue their employers directly for all necessary compensation.
An Ocean Springs Crew Boat Accident Lawyer may be able to help you. They can take the lead to explain the relevant laws, provide insight into your rights, and act quickly to demand appropriate payments from negligent boat owners. Schedule a consultation today.