If you are one of the many people in the Anchorage area who work at sea, you have probably heard of the Jones Act. Your employer has certainly heard of it. The Jones Act is a federal law that is intended to protect you and your rights. But, how does it do that? Knowing some of the basics about the Jones Act is crucial for a seaman in Alaska.
Jones Act basics
Quite simply, the Jones Act allows seamen who are injured during the course of employment to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against their employers, if they believe the employer was negligently or recklessly responsible for the injury in question. And, the Jones Act allows injured seamen to pursue their claims in either state or federal court. One other important point: the Jones Act allows these types of cases to go to jury trial, if necessary.
So, how might your employer be responsible for your injuries? Well, as any seaman in Alaska probably knows, there is a multitude of ways to suffer an injury at sea or on a ship. An employer’s error in judgment, or in navigation, could result in onboard injuries, as could the failure to provide adequate gear to crew members or the failure to properly train crew members. Alcohol and drug use is not unheard of, and violations of safety regulations are all too common.
If you are a seaman who has suffered an injury during the course of employment, it may be important to move quickly to protect your rights. A successful claim under the Jones Act could lead to an award of financial compensation to cover lost wages, lost future wages and medical expenses, among other costs. Be sure to have your claim analyzed to see if the protections of the Jones Act apply to your situation.