Every seaman knows how dangerous their job can be. Accidents will happen and injuries will occur. When you’re injured due to the negligence of the captain or another member of the crew, the Jones Act provides you with a remedy. But you can’t wait around forever before making a claim under the Act.
The Statute of Limitations
The Jones Act exists for your protection. Your employer has a legal duty to provide a reasonably safe working environment while you’re at sea. However, when someone aboard ship takes an action that is unreasonable under the circumstances, and you’re injured, the Jones Act gives you the right to file a lawsuit against your employer. This right is the means by which you can be made whole again.
But at the same time the Jones Act gives you the right to sue, it also places a time limit on your ability to do so. Known as the statute of limitations, you generally have three years from the date you were injured to bring your suit under the Act. If you fail to do so in time, you lose the right forever.
But there may be other limitations as well
Filing a lawsuit under the Jones Act is not always a straightforward matter. Often, there must be an investigation into the accident to determine exactly what happened and why. This investigation should be done with your interests in mind, rather than those of your employer. The evidence collected from the investigation is what drives your lawsuit.
The longer you wait to file your claim, the greater the likelihood that the evidence will grow stale or become unavailable, weakening your case. For this reason alone, it’s important to speak to a Maritime Law professional quickly, so that they can evaluate your case and begin the process of building it. This will give you your best chance of recovering all the compensation you’re entitled to under the law.