Jones Act law and maritime law are very complex. The statutes, by themselves, are only a small part of Jones Act law and maritime law. Actual court cases which are appealed make up a large part of Jones Act law and maritime law. Generally, Jones Act laws were written to protect people who work on ships, oil rigs, or other sea-going vessels. However, Jones Act law is very different from workers compensation law. Under the Jones Act an injured worker must prove that the ship or drilling rig owner operator were negligent or at fault for your injury. This is not difficult for an experienced Jones Act lawyer who helps clients in Houston. The Jones Act attorneys at Briggle & Polan, PLLC, are experienced in handling Jones Act claims and maritime claims in Houston. We know what we're doing and want to help you to avoid costly mistakes and collect a 100% Jones Act settlement, not a penny less.
This article is a short overview of the Jones Act but if you have been injured or if you contracted a disease in a maritime setting, you need to call a Jones Act lawyer immediately after any job injury. Many workers who call us think they are covered by workman's compensation or by longshore compensation but they are wrong. You should call us toll-free at 1-866-247-HELP. Briggle & Polan, PLLC, is made up of Jones Act lawyers who can immediately talk to you about Jones Act law and tell you exactly what to do and what to expect. You can talk to a Houston Jones Act attorney confidentially and for free. Your call is privileged and private. We will not and cannot inform anyone of your call to us.
The Jones Act generally provides:
According to 46 U.S.C.S. 10101(3), a seaman is an individual (except scientific personnel, sailing school instructors, or sailing school students) engaged or employed in any capacity on board a vessel.
Because the Federal Employees Liability Act governs the Jones Act, the statute of limitations for a maritime injury suit is three years from the date of the incident. 45 U.S.C.S. 56 (2002).
In determining when claims accrue for the purpose of statute of limitations of Jones Act, the court applies either the "time of event" rule, under which a cause of action accrues when harmful event occurs, or "discovery rule," under which cause of action accrues when plaintiff discovers or should have discovered both injury and its cause. Armstrong v. Trico Marine, Inc. 923 F.2d 55 (1991).
The Jones Act is comprised of the following sub-sections (summarized and paraphrased):
46 U.S.C.S. App. d 688(a): A seaman is entitled to recover damages at law (i.e. money) if he is personally injured during employment and he can elect to have a jury trial. All statutes modifying or extending the common-law rights and remedies in cases of personal injury to railway employees will apply. (see F.E.L.A. at 45 U.S.C.S. d 51-6 (1939).
If the seaman is killed, his personal representative may bring a Jones Act suit where he may recover money damages and have a jury trial. All statutes regulating such causes of action for railway employees will apply. Jurisdiction is the residency of the defendant employer or the locality of his principle place of business.
(b): Limitation for certain aliens; applicability in lieu of other remedy:
(b)(1): Jones Act cause of action will not be maintained unless the seaman is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident alien at the time the incident occurred.
(b)(1)(A): Jones Act cause of action will not be maintained if the plaintiff was an employee of a business which explores, develops, produces offshore mineral or energy resources including: drilling, mapping, surveying, diving, pipe-laying, maintaining, repairing, constructing, transporting supplies, equipment, or personnel.
A cause of action can be maintained for those seamen injured transporting those resources or by a vessel constructed primarily to carry oil in bulk in the cargo spaces.
(b)(1)(B): A cause of action will not be maintained for incidents which occur in waters overlaying the continental shelf of a nation other than the U.S., or in its territories, or possessions.
(b)(2): A plaintiff may still bring a cause of action although he was prohibited under (b)(1) if he can establish that no remedy was available to him–
(b)(2)(A): –under the laws of the nation which has jurisdiction over the area of the incident.
(b)(2)(B): –under the laws of the nation which during the time of the incident, the Plaintiff maintained citizenship or residency.
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