Workers in Alaska and Washington who are injured while at sea can file a claim under the Jones Act. To succeed in your claim, you must prove that your injury was caused by negligence or unseaworthiness, which means that the vessel you were working on was unsafe.
Part of the potential compensation you can recover is for lost wages, or lost earnings as they are referred to under the Jones Act. Lost earnings mean more than just the wages you lose out on while you are injured; it can also include lost future earnings and earning capacity.
You might have been working as part of a contract at the time of your injury. Your lost earnings compensation could include the value of earnings that you would have been paid under your contract.
If you do not have a contract, don’t worry, you are still potentially entitled to an estimated number of wages you lost out on.
Lost future earnings and earning capacity
In addition to lost earnings, you can try pursuing compensation for lost future earnings and earning capacity. Lost future earnings refer to the amount of money you would have received if you had not been injured, while earning capacity involves what type of work you were doing vs. what you can now do and in the future.
Lost future earnings and earning capacity are more difficult to prove since they involve some amount of speculation. Factors including how many years you would still spend working and how much you could have expected to receive in wage increases are considered.
You have a legal right to compensation
An injury at sea can disrupt your entire life. Along with not being able to work, you will likely face high medical bills and endure physical and mental suffering. Pursuing a maritime law claim under the Jones Act can be complex, which is why having legal guidance is essential to helping you obtain compensation.