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Seattle Maritime Injury Attorney
When a worker incurs an injury on the job, he or she typically files a claim with the workers’ compensation or industrial insurance program. However, there are certain industries that don’t work within the system, and the maritime industry is one of them. For maritime workers, the workers’ compensation system is a little different. The federal government passed specific laws that protect longshoremen, seamen, deckhands, crew members, stevedores, and other maritime workers who incur injury at sea or near the water.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a federal law that was passed in the 1930s. It provides seamen, and other maritime workers, essential protections that allow them to sue for personal injury in the event they incur injury on the job.
Virtually every land-based Washington worker can collect workers’ compensation benefits under the law. This is a no-fault system, so workers collect benefits in exchange for forfeiting their right to sue for additional damages. In maritime law, however, these rules don’t apply. Maritime workers cannot file workers’ compensation claims, so the Jones Act provides valuable recourse for injured workers.
How Does the Jones Act Work?
Unlike the no-fault industrial insurance system, an injured maritime worker must prove his or her employer was negligent, to collect compensation. Under the terms of the Jones Act:
- A maritime employer is legally bound to provide a reasonably safe place of employment
- The employer must also use reasonable care in the upkeep and maintenance of a vessel or dockyard where the maritime worker carries out duties
If a maritime employer fails in this duty to provide a safe workplace, they may be legally liable for any injuries. Under the Jones Act, an employer is also responsible for the actions of a worker’s captain and coworkers. In other words, if a coworker’s negligence causes injury, the employer may still be liable. Examples of negligence or unsafe conditions under the Jones Act include, but aren’t limited to:
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Unsafe deck conditions, such as puddles of grease or oil
- Coworker assault
- Incomplete training
- Lack of proper safety equipment
- Unsafe work processes
- Improper maintenance of a vessel or its equipment
- Any negligent actions by the captain or coworkers in a shipyard or on a vessel.
Finding a Seattle Maritime Injury Attorney
Colburn Law is a full-service Seattle injury law firm. It can be difficult to find an attorney with experience in the intricacies of this federal law. If you incurred injury while at sea or in the course of your employment with a maritime employer, contact us for a free initial consultation.
At Colburn Law, we offer our Seattle maritime law services on a contingency-fee basis. This means you’ll only pay a fee if we win a settlement or court judgment on your behalf. We believe in helping maritime workers gain compensation for their injuries without financial worry.
A Jones Act or maritime injury settlement can help compensate you for medical bills, lost wages, and additional general damages, which may include pain, suffering, or emotional distress. To start your personal injury claim in Washington today, contact us to schedule your case evaluation.