Oakland Seaman & Jones Act Lawyer
Marine construction workers, fishermen, deckhands, ferry boat operators, engineers, cooks, food servers, and everyone else employed on board a vessel, ship, or boat that sails on the oceans, seas, rivers or other navigable waters are entitled to special remedies and compensation if they are hurt on the job. Maritime workers injured on the job can seek compensation from their employers under the Jones Act. The compensation recoverable is much broader and much more generous than in a workers’ compensation claim. If you have suffered an injury while working aboard a water vessel off the coast or in a Northern California waterway, the Oakland Jones Act injury lawyers at Venardi Zurada can help you recover the damages to which you are entitled.
What is the Jones Act?
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly called the Jones Act, is a federal law that regulates maritime commerce. One of the purposes of the Jones Act is to offer legal protection for individuals who face the perils of navigable waters every day. Unlike workers on the land, seamen do not benefit from state workers’ compensation programs and other state and federal protections for workers. Because they work on navigable waters and off the coasts, state law does not protect them. Absent the Jones Act, sailors working on boats, rafts, and ships would have no means of recovering any sort of damages after being injured on the job.
Under the Jones Act, seamen such as merchant marines, marine construction workers, commercial fishermen, tugboat and barge workers, and others employed on water vessels have the right to sue their employers for injuries sustained in the course of their employment. The Jones Act permits them to sue for things like medical expenses, lost wages, and living expenses incurred while unable to work following an injury.
Jones Act vs. Workers’ Compensation
California guarantees all workers within its borders workers’ compensation protection. Employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for injured employees. If a worker is hurt on the job, regardless of who caused the injury (with limited exceptions), the worker is guaranteed a portion of their wages, medical costs, disability, and other expenses.
Unlike typical workers’ compensation, the Jones Act does depend on some level of fault. To secure recovery after an injury aboard a water vessel, an injured worker must show that the injury occurred because of the negligence of the employer, another sailor, or some other party. They are not, however, restricted to the types of damages available under workers’ compensation. If an injured worker can prove fault, they can seek a variety of damages, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Diminished earning capacity
- Lost wages, present and future
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Permanent loss of bodily function
Speak with a dedicated Jones Act attorney to learn what types of damages you may be able to recover in a Jones Act case against your employer or another negligent party. Unlike traditional workers’ compensation, injured seamen are not limited to medical bills and a portion of lost wages. With the help of a zealous and effective maritime injury attorney, you might be able to win a substantial monetary award.
What Does the Jones Act Cover?
The Jones Act applies to “seamen.” Seamen are members of a crew of a vessel or group of vessels under common ownership and control. They are individuals who are employed in navigation, whose job contributes to the accomplishment of the vessel’s mission or to the operation or maintenance of a ship either at sea or while docked. That means that the Jones Act covers workers on the docks as well as those injured while aboard a vessel actively on the water.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has interpreted the Jones Act broadly to apply to seamen on board all types of vessels – everything from a raft to a cargo ship. The Oakland Jones Act lawyers at Venardi Zurada represent seamen injured on all kinds of water vessels, including the following:
- Barges and tugs
- Cruise ships
- Tour boats
- Fishing vessels
- Construction barges
- Diving platforms
Oakland Jones Act Lawyers Providing Dedicated Legal Service to Injured Seamen
If you or someone you care about has been hurt while working aboard a water vessel off the California coast or anywhere in the Bay Area, speak with an experienced and knowledgeable Oakland Jones Act injury attorney at Venardi Zurada, LLP. We have a comprehensive understanding and a deep well of experience in admiralty and maritime law, as well as a wealth of personal experience living and working aboard water vessels. Call 925-937-3900 or reach out online for a free consultation.