Walnut Creek Seaman & Jones Act Lawyer
Individuals who work on ships, adjoining docks, and other maritime settings in California regularly encounter hazards that put them at risk of serious bodily harm. Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that seamen face a fatality rate almost six times higher than employees across all industries. Exposure to physical, chemical, biological, and many other hazards leads to severe injuries and occupational diseases, particularly to the back, and upper and lower extremities.
Because the risk of injuries is so high among the seafaring workforce, a special set of laws applies when an employee is hurt. The Jones Act pays out benefits to qualifying workers, basically establishing a federal system of workers’ comp. However, these claims are still extremely complicated, so it is smart to count on our team at Venardi Zurada LLP for help with the process. Please contact our office to set up a free consultation with a Walnut Creek seaman & Jones Act lawyer who can provide details. An overview may also be useful.
Summary of Jones Act Claims for Seamen
California workers’ comp laws protect employees in the state, but those who work on the vessels that travel on navigable waters are not covered. To fill the gap, lawmakers enacted the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, familiarly known as the Jones Act. Merchant marines, construction workers, commercial fishing workers, and many other seamen may qualify for Jones Act remedies if they work on:
- Barges and tugboats;
- Cruise ships;
- Touring vessels;
- Docks adjoining vessels;
- Ferry boats;
- Fishing vessels;
- Construction barges; and
- Diving platforms.
Unlike state workers’ comp laws that establish a no-fault system, the Jones Act does require an injured seaman to prove that the maritime employer was negligent. In general, this means you need proof that your employer failed to maintain a safe work environment, and this breach was the direct cause of your injuries.
Jones Act Damages for Injured Seamen
Though the Jones Act touches on some basic workers’ compensation, the legal process and concept of monetary damages are more akin to personal injury cases. Besides the requirement of proving fault, there are two factors to note:
- Maritime employers carry insurance to cover claims by injured workers, so your first step in the legal process is filing a claim with the company. Our Walnut Creek seaman and Jones Act attorneys will support your rights in attempts to settle, but we will pursue litigation to obtain fair compensation.
- Monetary damages for a Jones Act claim are more expansive than what you could receive under state workers’ comp, which only covers medical costs, lost wages, and disability. Venardi Zurada LLP will ensure you get full amounts for these losses, as well as pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages.
Consult with a Walnut Creek Seaman and Jones Act Lawyer Today
While a description of the general concepts is helpful, in-depth knowledge of the Jones Act is critical if you are a seaman who was injured in a California maritime accident. For more information about your rights, please contact Venardi Zurada LLP by calling 925-937-3900 or go online to schedule a complimentary case review.