The first question in any offshore personal injury case is whether the injured person qualifies for seaman status. You should check with a New Orleans Jones Act lawyer to determine if you qualify for seaman status. If you do qualify, you have additional rights that other employees do not have.
In addition to these causes of action, injured seamen can pursue Jones Act claims.
6 Things to Know about Jones Act Claims
1. What is the Jones Act?
The general maritime law did not allow seamen to pursue negligence claims against their employers. Correcting this problem, the Jones Act made the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), which gave railroad workers a cause of action against their employers, applicable to seamen. Now, under the Jones Act, injured seamen have claims against their employers for negligence (including for injuries caused by the negligence of a co-employee).
2. How Long Do I Have to Bring a Jones Act Claim?
Generally speaking, injured seamen have 3 years to bring Jones Act claims.
However, if an employer misleads an injured seaman to keep him from filing suit (such as by promising to settle the claim), the employer may not be able to claim that the seaman waited too long to sue.
3. Where Can I File My Jones Act Claim?
An injured seaman can bring a Jones Act claim in state court or federal court. But, if the claim is filed in state court, the defendant cannot remove it to federal court.
4. Can I Get a Jury Trial for My Jones Act Claim?
Yes. You can get a jury trial for your Jones Act claim. However, if you choose to have your cased tried to a jury rather than a judge, you will not be able to receive an award of pre-judgment interest for your damages (which may be awarded in a judge trial).
5. What Do I Have to Prove to Win My Jones Act Claim?
First, you must qualify as a seamen. Second, you must be injured during the scope of your employment. And third, you must show that your injuries were caused by your employer’s negligence. The causation standard is said to be “featherweight,” requiring only that your employer’s negligence cause your injury at least “in part.”
6. Can I Still Bring a Jones Act Claim If I’m Partially at Fault?
Yes. However, your recovery in your Jones Act case will be reduced by your percentage of fault. In other words, if you’re awarded $100,000 and are found to be 25% at fault, you will only be able to recover $75,000.
But, there will be no reduction in your award if your injury was caused in part by your employer’s violation of a safety statute designed to protect you.
Call a Louisiana Jones Act Lawyer
The Mahone Firm can help. Call (504) 564-7342 to discuss your case with a New Orleans maritime attorney. There is absolutely no charge for an initial consultation.