Tugboat Accidents, Jones Act and Maritime Lawyers

Helping Injured Tugboat Workers

Working on a tugboat is a dangerous job. Nearly every task that a tugboat worker performs on a daily basis carries with it some serious risk. Such dangerous occupations are the reason for laws such as the Jones Act.

NegligenceIf the shipowner, captain, or other members of the crew were negligent or incompetent, or if the vessel was poorly maintained, not seaworthy or unfit for its intended purpose, the injured worker may want to contact a maritime lawyer.

DeathIn the event that a crew member is killed due to such negligence, the Jones Act also allows for certain family members to file a wrongful death claim.

What is the Jones Act?

A federal law, the Jones Act allows seamen injured due to the negligence of his/her employer, or other seamen, while the vessel is “in navigation,” to file a claim for medical bills, pain, and suffering, and other damages.

Seamen Are Not Entitled to Worker’s Compensation

While land-based workers are entitled to worker’s compensation, those classified as a seaman are not. Instead, they are covered under the Jones Act which allows seamen, and their families, to make a claim for personal injury or a wrongful death that resulted from negligence.

Am I a Jones Act Seaman?

To be classified as a Jones Act Seaman you must:

  • engage in an employment relationship with a specific ship or shipping company
  • spend at least 30% of your working time with that ship or fleet of ships
  • directly contribute to the ship’s functions or to accomplishing it’s assigned tasks
  • be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien at the time of the accident

The legal issues surrounding who qualifies as a seaman are complicated. You should consult with an experienced Jones Act and maritime lawyer.

Common Acts of Negligence that Lead to Injury and Death

  • Lack of proper safety training
  • Lack of proper occupational training – crew member not properly trained for their job
  • Poorly maintained, broken, or faulty equipment or machinery
  • The employer fails to provide proper equipment for a crew member’s job/task
  • Unseaworthy Vessel – when the vessel is not reasonably fit for its intended purpose
  • Failure to hire a competent crew, negligent co-workers
  • Collision with another vessel

Maritime Cases Are Different from Personal Injury Cases

Maritime accidents are governed under a distinct set of laws, and not just any attorney can handle Jones Act and maritime cases. An experienced maritime lawyer can attempt to get the results, the settlement and the financial compensation you deserve for your long-term care.

Experienced Jones Act & Maritime Attorney Richard Serpe

Richard Serpe gained a Master of Laws in Maritime from Tulane University School of law after graduating law school. He has also been awarded the rank of Proctor (the highest rank available) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States and has been practicing law for over 32 years. For a free consultation, please call/text 757-233-0009.

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