Every day, Louisiana seamen put their lives at risk while on-the-job. Fortunately, the Federal government has implemented the Jones Act to help protect sea vessel employees who get injured or killed while carrying out the duties of his or her job.
A Jones Act seaman recently filed a complaint against his employer, Offshore Logistical and Transports LLC, after an accident on a supply vessel. The man was working on the vessel when the accident occurred, injuring the man’s knee. This required him to undergo surgery.
The lawsuit alleges that Offshore was negligent and breached its duty of reasonable care. Offshore allegedly failed to maintain a vessel that was seaworthy and did not provide a safe workplace and proper training or equipment. As a result, the seaman suffered lost wages, medical expenses and other forms of injury.
Much like a personal injury or wrongful death suit for non-seamen, if an employer’s negligence results in the injury or death of an employee, that employer may be held liable and have to pay damages. Under the Jones Act, a seaman may recover damages if he or she can show that their injuries did in fact occur on a navigable vessel.
Additionally, it must also be shown that they were working as a seaman at the time of the injury. Courts consider various factors such as employee duties and time spent on the vessel in order to determine whether he or she is a seaman under the Jones Act. Generally, the worker must aid in the process of fulfilling the mission of the vessel.
Employees that are covered by the Jones Act may be able to recover financially after a tragic work incident. If a person is not covered under the Jones Act, he or she may still be able to recover compensation under federal and state personal injury laws.
Source: Louisiana Record, “Boat worker sues over injury,” Dan Harkins, July 15, 2015