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Jones Act Claims
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The maritime industry can leave injured workers feeling helpless and alone. The sea is unpredictable, and accidents can lead to severe injuries, financial distress, and an uncertain future. Without proper legal guidance, securing compensation can become daunting, if not impossible.

If you are an injured seaman, contact the experienced maritime attorneys at Montagna Law to discuss your case. Call 877-622-8100 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation to see how we can help you fight to recover what you deserve after an injury at sea.

Let us work on recovering compensation while you work on recovering from your injuries.

Call (877) 622-8100 or complete the online contact form to request a free consultation.

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      Why Work With Montagna Law?

      While federal law protects maritime workers from injuries caused by employer negligence, receiving the compensation owed to an injured worker may not be so easy. Maritime law is not simplistic, though, and having a well-qualified, highly experienced attorney who understands the Jones Act requirements for bodies of water in Virginia could be critical to helping you recover the damages you may be owed.

      Montagna Law’s experience in this area is a resource for you. Whether you work on dredging vessels along coastlines or in shipyards handling shipbuilding for large companies, maritime administration laws aim to protect you. Our attorneys recognize their importance and have the experience you can rely on to help you with your case.


      Consider some of the results our attorneys have produced in areas of maritime law related to the Jones Act.

      • $530,000 settlement after our client, a construction worker on a barge, was hurt when a deck winch line snapped and struck his legs. The liability and damages were contested by the defendant.
      • $750,000 settlement after a 44-year-old longshoreman who was working while aboard a vessel climbed onto a walkway and used the safety rail to steady himself, but the rail broke off the base, causing him to be jerked around. Our client suffered neck and shoulder injuries.
      • $800,000 settlement after our client sustained a head injury from a boom on a fishing vessel while working as a commercial fisherman.

      Unwavering Support For Workers Hurt At Sea

      Montagna Law is your advocate for Jones Act claims if you are a maritime worker who is hurt on the job. Let us help you determine what your legal rights are to recovering damages. Set up a free consultation by calling 877-622-8100 or fill out our online contact form now.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      What Is the Jones Act?

      The Jones Act, also called the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is a federal statute put in place to support the development of a merchant marine to support commercial activity. The law is complex with numerous nuances. For example, under 46 USC § 50102. it requires that ships moving between U.S. ports for commercial reasons must do so with U.S.-flagged vessels.

      The Jones Act was critical in establishing a merchant marine to support both commercial activities on the water and also to work as an auxiliary form of naval support during a war or a national emergency. It was meant to provide protections for national security from Alaska to Hawaii to Puerto Rico, Texas, along the Gulf Coast, and along both coastlines through the use of U.S. flagged ships. Yet, today, one of its most significant applications relates to domestic trade and international trade, along with other maritime commercial activities.

      Who Qualifies For the Jones Act?

      The component most applicable to seamen is that this statute extends the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) to seamen, meaning that if a worker is hurt during the course of their work on such a marine vessel that they can bring a personal injury lawsuit against employers for losses suffered.

      This rule applies to most seamen working on a commercial vessel, including:

      • Fishermen
      • Stewards
      • Engineers
      • Deckhands
      • Pilots
      • Divers
      • Captains
      • Drillers
      • Cooks
      • Mates

      If you work on a vessel on navigable waters, you are likely protected under the Jones Act if you are hurt on that vessel during work-related duties. If your family member dies as a result of an injury that occurs in such a manner, that death may fall under the Jones Act as well.

      What Are Common Injuries Covered Under the Jones Act?

      The Jones Act mandates specific rights to seamen while on duty and requires that employers protect them while working. Among those provisions is that seamen must receive:

      • Adequate and reasonable food
      • Shelter
      • Necessary medical care if a seaman is hurt on the job

      Employers must take reasonable care to provide for the safety and well-being of each employee and meet any reasonable expectations. That means that the employer could be held negligent if they engage in or do not provide for care that a reasonable prudent person would to protect employees or the safety of the vessel.

      Some of the most common injuries that could fall under the Jones Act in situations where negligence occurs include:

      • Back injuries, including spinal cord injury
      • Burns
      • Neck injuries
      • Repetitive motion injuries
      • Toxic exposure
      • Hearing or vision loss
      • Broken or crushed bones
      • Catastrophic injuries (those that may not improve and carry long-term consequences
      Are There Any Exceptions to the Jones Act?

      The Jones Act applies in nearly all situations where the work is done on the water. If the job is based on land, conversely, then traditional workers’ compensation law applies. However, any maritime employee is covered by the Jones Act instead. If you are a maritime worker, this law applies to your case.

      The Jones Act does not apply to pleasure or leisure vessels.

      Are Cruise Ships Exempt from the Jones Act?

      In the traditional sense, cruise ships are not commercial vessels. However, if an employee is hurt on board a cruise ship, they can file a claim, as the Jones Act applies to cruise ship employees.

      Cruise ship passengers do not have any coverage under the Jones Act since this is a federal law that covers employment-related injuries and negligence. If a cruise ship passenger is hurt while on a ship, and negligence occurs, it is possible to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party.

      What Is the Maximum Medical Improvement Under the Jones Act?

      Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) refers to how much an employee is expected to improve after an injury. MMI could reach 100%, meaning a person can fully return to work because they recovered fully from the incident. Other times, an employee may never reach full recovery, but they may stabilize, meaning they are not expected to improve more.

      Under the Jones Act, employers are expected to pay for medical care only until a person reaches their MMI. Even if you continue to seek additional treatment, if your MMI is reached, the employer may no longer have to pay for advanced treatment. Depending on the situation, you may still be entitled to additional benefits for future wages.

      What Is the Statute of Limitations for Jones Act Claims?

      The statute of limitations for maritime legal action against an employer due to a personal injury or death is three years from the date the incident occurred. This means that if you are hurt while working, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim for compensation in a court of law. If you wait too long, your employer may not be required to pay for such losses.

      Damages Available Under the Jones Act

      A worker hurt on a marine vessel may seek financial compensation, or damages, from the employer that acts in a negligent manner. Compensation falls into three key types: loss of earnings, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

      • Loss of earnings: This type of loss represents both current lost wages from being unable to work as well as loss of future earning capacity in situations where injuries create lasting outcomes. This may include benefits such as missed vacation time, employee healthcare benefits, pension contributions, and retirement contributions.
      • Medical expenses: All medical expenses suffered by the employee due to the injury may fall on the shoulders of the employer. This could include medical exams, lab testing, medical care and hospitalization, rehabilitation, medications, and mental health treatment needed as a result of the accident.
      • Pain and suffering: The Jones Act also provides employees with the opportunity to require additional damages for mental anguish and physical pain brought on by the injury or accident. Factors such as the severity of the injuries, pain involved, and mental duress are considered.
      Should You Hire a Maritime Lawyer for Your Jones Act Claim?

      Jones Act claims are very specific and quite complex in terms of requiring proof of injury and violation of those rights. Because it is such a specific subsect of the law, if you are a worker hurt on a vessel, you should seek out an attorney who has the experience and specific knowledge to support you throughout your case. Experience can make a significant difference here.