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Navigating the Jones Act: Maritime Workers’ Rights to Compensation

| Jon Montagna |

Workers in the maritime industry and marine trades spend many hours in dangerous conditions, and maritime injuries can be some of the worst sustained by any employee seeking workers’ compensation.  The Merchant Marine act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, provides special opportunities for marine tradespeople to receive compensation for their workplace injuries.  However, many maritime workers do not realize what the Jones act affords them beyond workers’ comp, and how they can claim the compensation that they deserve in a maritime workers’ comp case.  Under the Jones Act, many workers who may not think they have coverage beyond workers’ compensation are given the right to additional assistance that will give them peace of mind while they recover from an accident in any maritime workplace.

The Jones Act covers all workers at sea, but workers may not know that it applies to all crew members on boats and ships in all navigable waters, even shallow coastal areas.  In fact, some workers in the marine trades who have legitimate compensation claims may not know they were classified as crew members at all.  Many workers on bridges, tunnels and ports are included in Jones Act provisions, but US Code for the Jones Act is complex and generally difficult to understand.  Legal entitlements to compensation afforded by the Jones Act are difficult to recognize for any maritime worker, crew member, or mariner, especially if workers’ compensation is already in effect. “You may have a claim under the Jones Act, even if your employer is already paying you workers’ compensation” says Lance Jackson, an attorney practicing in the Maritime Injury field for Montagna Klein Camden, LLP.

Excellent legal counsel is critical for injured maritime workers in these situations.  Treatment for injuries in the workplace and workers’ compensation appeals can take a lot away from getting back to work and life.  Fishermen, longshoremen and everyone who works on the water know that they do some of the most dangerous work.  We do this work in an environment we love, and we don’t want anything, even an injury, to keep us away for too long.  After a maritime injury, you as a maritime worker may not be aware of these rights, which is where an expert maritime attorney can work for you. Knowing your rights to compensation starts with contacting a law firm with a proven track record in the maritime injury and workers’ compensation field.

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