The Jones Act creates an alternative workers' compensation scheme for seamen and for other people whose work includes maritime duties.
Traditional workers' compensation
Traditionally, states run workers' compensation programs. Workers' comp provides a small amount of money meant to tide the worker over until she can get back to work, and compensation for approved medical expenses.
Employers usually fight workers' compensation claims, even if the worker clearly suffered a severe injury, and frequently send employees to approved doctors who will downplay or entirely dismiss injured workers' complaints. Additionally, if workers accept workers' compensation for their injury, they usually waive the right to sue their employer for negligence.
Jones Act transportation, wages, maintenance, and cure
Regardless of the cause of the injury, the Jones Act requires maritime employers to pay the cost of transportation and wages until injured workers can be returned to shore for treatment. Once ashore, maritime employers must pay maintenance-the reasonable cost of room and board-and cure, the cost of medical treatment until the injured employee can return to work or until the injured employee reaches his or her maximum medical improvement.
A Louisiana Jones Act claims attorney can help you force reluctant employers to pay fair maintenance and cure. Usually a strongly-worded letter from a Louisiana Jones Act attorney is enough to convince recalcitrant employers to pay.
Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness
In contrast to most workers' compensation schemes, even injured workers who accept the no-fault maintenance and cure payments can sue their employer for negligence. An experienced Louisiana Jones Act claims lawyer can help determine whether any negligence led to your injury. The Jones Act sets a very low bar for employer negligence, requiring only the slightest employer negligence before the employer must compensate the injured employee for pain and suffering, future lost wages, and other damages.
Unseaworthiness constitutes another measure of employer negligence that usually leads to additional compensation for the injured employee. If the vessel is in any way defective-unfit for its purposes-or if the crew itself is too small for required tasks or otherwise unfit for duty, Louisiana Jones Act attorneys can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries in addition to maintenance and cure payments.
Work with expert Louisiana Jones Act claims attorneys to maximize compensation for your injuries
We at the Gaar Law Firm, one of the top maritime law firms in Louisiana, have decades of experience successfully representing injured seamen and maritime employees. Contact us today to set up a free consultation. We will give your case the individualized attention it deserves, and work hard to ensure that you get the maximum cash award for your injuries.