Mississippi Jones Act Lawyers
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act provides compensation for “seamen” who are injured on the job. It is a federal maritime law. It is not the same thing as workers’ compensation.
Under the Jones Act you can receive maintenance and cure without having to prove fault.
You can also receive compensation for personal injury damages, and family member can be entitled to compensation for wrongful death. Jones Act personal injury and wrongful death claims do require you to prove fault on the behalf of the employer.
What is the difference between the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (LHWCA)?
The Jones Act only covers workers who qualify as seamen. It can provide much greater benefits that LHWCA, but to obtain the majority of those benefits you must prove fault.
LHWCA provides for maritime workers who are not considered seamen. It is similar to state Workers’ Compensation plans in that you do not have to prove fault, and the payout is relatively low.
Who qualifies as a “seaman” under the Jones Act?
A seaman is a master or crew member of a seagoing vessel including oil rigs that are not permanently fixed to the ocean floor. The definition is not specifically laid out in the Jones Act. To determine if you qualify as a seaman we have to turn to case law and the most recent definition as determined by the Supreme Court.
What are maintenance and cure?
Maintenance and cure are very minimal benefits that injured seamen are entitled to no matter who was at fault.
Maintenance pays a small amount to replace the room and board you would have received on the vessel. Cure pays for medical expenses until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
MMI is the point at which your condition can no longer be improved by medical care. It is not necessarily the end of your need of medical care for you condition.
I am receiving payments under LHWCA. Can I still file a claim under the Jones Act?
That depends on your situation. You cannot receive both LHWCA and Jones Act benefits, but there are some circumstances under which you can make a Jones Act claim which will negate your employer’s liability under LHWCA and can result in higher benefits for you.
Determining which laws apply in your case and how to handle your claim if it is already started under the wrong area of law can be very complicated. Due to the statute of limitations, time is of the essence. You need the help of an experienced maritime law attorney right away.
If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC at 228-374-5151 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 or contact us online. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.