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Injured Maritime Worker Information:
If you are an injured maritime worker, or were injured while on a ship, or offshore structure or platform,you must take the proper steps to protect your right to recover for your injury under the Jones Act.
Get medical attention immediately. You have the right to choose your own doctor. Do not use the "company doctor". They work for the company, and they might not have your best interest at heart. Find a doctor who has treated injured co-workers and who understands the physical requirements of your job. Most good Maritime lawyers will be able to refer you to an experienced, competent doctor.
Contact an experienced maritime lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected. Your lawyer must have experience working on Jones Act cases. Ask for credentials.
If injured, report the injury to your supervisor immediately. Fill out and file a complete accident or injury report. If you feel there was a dangerous condition or situation that caused or contributed to your injury, be sure to state it on the accident report.
Co-workers and/or witnesses should write a statement as to what the conditions were at the time of the accident, and state what they saw happen.
Get names, addresses and phone numbers of any co-workers that witnessed the accident. These co-workers may become important witnesses.
Maritime personal injury cases are very complex. It's important to have an attorney involved early in the case. the sooner an investigation is started, the easier it is to secure statements from co-workers and witnesses. While you are in the hospital or at home recovering from injuries, the employer or the negligent defendant is preparing a defense. You need to be prepared as well.
Information that needs to be considered:
- What was the injury, and to what extent?
- When, where, why and how did the injury occur?
- Who was the employer?
- Names of all involved parties, including the seaman and co-workers.
- Is the seaman working under a contract that governs the venue for filing a claim, controls the maximum amount of allowable damages, the limitation of liability and sets the time in which the suit or claim may be filed?
- Was the employer working under a contract that affects the seaman's right to file a suit against a negligent sub-contractor or general contractor?
- Was the accident within the territorial waters of the U.S?
- Was the accident outside the 12 mile limit?
- If it is a wrongful death, does the Death on the High Seas Act apply?
- Was an injury report filed timely?
- Can the responsible defendants be sued in a court of law in the United States?
- Are there any indemnity agreements between the parties that will affect the lawsuit?
- Is there a valid un-seaworthiness claim available to the seaman?
- Has the seaman been paid the correct amount of maintance and cure ?
- What evidence and witness statements do they defendants have in their possession?
- Do any foreign laws prevent a legal action from being filed?
- Does the Jones Act apply?
- Is this case governed by General Maritime Laws ?
- Do other State or Federal laws apply instead ?
- Has an investigator been hired to take statements that would be favorable to the injured worker?
- What Statute of Limitations will apply?
- Has the worker missed filing any required notice of injury reports or accident reports?
Maritime law governs shipping and navigation, such as:
- Recreational Boating, or recreational boating accidents.
- Canals, or accidents that happen in canals.
- Docks, or accidents that happen on a dock.
- Offshore drilling, or offshore drilling platform accidents.
- Piers and Wharfs, or accidents that happen on a pier.
- Shipping, or shipping vessel accidents.
- Shipyards, or shipyard accidents.
- Towage, or accidents that happen while towing ships or other vessels.
Common types of accidents governed by maritime law:
- Running aground
- Flooding or sinking
- Falls overboard
- Wrongful death
- Serious injury
Should you file under State Act, Longshore Act or Jones Act?
Your lawyer will help you to decide how to best pursue your case. there are many factors to consider. Who is a Jones Act Plaintiff? What are the requirements needed to meet in order to file a Jones Act Case? Ask your lawyer these questions, and click here to learn more about which act fits your case.
The Jones Act is the common name for US Code 46, Chapter 18, relating to injury or death of a seaman. The Jones Act enables the filing of negligence claims against employers in order to collect damages for injuries sustained while on a ship, vessel, or platform. Below is the code as written here.
§ 688. Recovery for injury to or death of seaman
(a) Application of railway employee statutes; jurisdiction
Any seaman who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right of trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply; and in case of the death of any seaman as a result of any such personal injury the personal representative of such seaman may maintain an action for damages at law with the right of trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States conferring or regulating the right of action for death in the case of railway employees shall be applicable. Jurisdiction in such actions shall be under the court of the district in which the defendant employer resides or in which his principal office is located.
(b) Limitation for certain aliens; applicability in lieu of other remedy
(1) No action may be maintained under subsection (a) of this section or under any other maritime law of the United States for maintenance and cure or for damages for the injury or death of a person who was not a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States at the time of the incident giving rise to the action if the incident occurred--
(A) while that person was in the employ of an enterprise engaged in the exploration, development, or production of offshore mineral or energy resources--including but not limited to drilling, mapping, surveying, diving, pipelaying, maintaining, repairing, constructing, or transporting supplies, equipment or personnel, but not including transporting those resources by (a) 1 vessel constructed or adapted primarily to carry oil in bulk in the cargo spaces; and
1 So in original. Probably should be "a".
(B) in the territorial waters or waters overlaying the continental shelf of a nation other than the United States, its territories, or possessions. As used in this paragraph, the term "continental shelf" has the meaning stated in article I of the 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf.
(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be applicable if the person bringing the action establishes that no remedy was available to that person--
(A) under the laws of the nation asserting jurisdiction over the area in which the incident occurred; or
(B) under the laws of the nation in which, at the time of the incident, the person for whose injury or death a remedy is sought maintained citizenship or residency.
(Mar. 4, 1915, ch. 153, § 20, 38 Stat. 1185; June 5, 1920, ch. 250, § 33, 41 Stat. 1007; Pub. L. 97-389, title V, § 503(a), Dec. 29, 1982, 96 Stat. 1955.)
REFERENCES IN TEXT
"Statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury, to railway employees" and "statutes of the United States conferring or regulating the right of action for death in the case of railway employees", referred to in subsec. (a), probably mean acts June 11, 1906, ch. 3073, 34 Stat. 232; Apr. 22, 1908, ch. 149, 35 Stat. 65; Apr. 5, 1910, ch. 143, 36 Stat. 291; and Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 685, 53 Stat. 1404, popularly known as the Employers' Liability Acts. Act Apr. 22, 1908, ch. 149, 35 Stat. 65, is classified generally to chapter 2 (§ 51 et seq.) of Title 45, Railroads. For complete classification of acts Apr. 22, 1908, Apr. 5, 1910, and Aug. 11, 1939 to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 51 of Title 45 and Tables.
The 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf, referred to in subsec. (b)(1)(B), was done at Geneva, April 29, 1958, and entered into force for the United States, June 10, 1964. See 15 UST 471; TIAS 5578.
1982--Pub. L. 97-389 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).
1920--Act June 5, 1920, amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section read as follows: "In any suit to recover damages for any injury sustained on board vessel or in its service seamen having command shall not be held to be fellow-servants with those under their authority."
EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1982 AMENDMENT
Section 503(b) of Pub. L. 97-389 provided that: "The amendment made by this section [amending this section] does not apply to any action arising out of an incident that occurred before the date of enactment of this section [Dec. 29, 1982]."
Jurisdiction of district courts, see sections 1331 and 1332 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.
Suits for recovery of damages for personal injury or death, or both, arising out of maritime tort, not maintainable unless commenced within three years from date on which cause of action accrued, see section 763a of this Appendix.
SECTION REFERRED TO IN OTHER SECTIONS
This section is referred to in title 33 section 903.
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