The damages that can be recovered in a Jones Act claim depend on the claimant’s injuries and how those injuries impact their life. Generally, these damages may include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Projected medical bills
- Pain and suffering
Different types of damages exist for different types of claims. A lawyer who handles Jones Act cases can help you identify which damages may apply to you and your specific situation.
Common Types of Damages That May Be Recovered in a Jones Act Claim
The Jones Act allows certain types of maritime workers to file negligence-based lawsuits against their employers for injuries that occur at work. Maritime workers have this option because they are generally excluded from workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Jones Act claims may allow for the recovery of more types of damages than are available under a workers’ compensation claim.
The following are some of the most common types of damages that can be recovered in a Jones Act claim by an injured seaman or maritime worker:
Lost wages refer to the wages you would have earned if you had not been injured, both during the time you were injured and during treatment. For example, you might need to get emergency medical treatment, meaning you have to leave your job early. Then, you might spend several days recovering before you can return to your job.
This damage type may also cover any benefits you lost because you were unable to work.
Lost Earning Capacity
In some cases, serious injuries or maritime accidents can affect you long-term. Lost earning capacity damages allow you to recover compensation for the wages you would have earned in the future had you not been injured.
For example, if you experience the loss of a limb, you might still be able to work a job, but there are certain jobs you will no longer be able to do. Your capacity to earn money in the way you used to is lost, and you may be able to receive compensation for it.
A Jones Act claim may provide compensation for any medical treatments that are directly related to your injuries, such as emergency department visits, surgeries, therapy, and more.
For example, if you break your leg at sea – work-time accident – you may need emergency medical treatment to help set any broken bones. Later, you might need surgery to help properly fix the damage. Then, you might have to undergo physical therapy to help you gain back your previous physical abilities. Projected Medical Expenses
If your injuries are expected to last long-term, you may be able to claim future or projected medical expenses.
For example, if your injury will cause a physical disability, permanent damage, paralysis, or affect you in other ways that require long-term medical care, your Jones Act claim may account for these expenses.
When a maritime injury stops you from working either in the near future or permanently, it may be crucial to calculate the money you will spend overtime on medical care and pursue these damages on your claim.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages may be recovered in cases when a person has suffered greatly during a workplace accident. Pain and suffering damages can extend to both the physical pain the seaman endured or the mental or emotional anguish he or she suffered due to the injury.
For example, your injuries may be related to an accident entirely out of the ordinary for your job. You might experience a great deal of physical pain, but the incident itself may have been traumatizing as well. It might have been a harrowing experience that led to many intense emotions. You may be able to receive compensation for these intangible damages.
Other types of damages beyond those listed here may also be available in a Jones Act claim. It all depends on the specifics of your case.
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When does the Jones Act Apply?
Employees who qualify under the Jones Act work in the maritime industry. They need to spend a certain amount of their time on work related to the ship. For example, the Jones Act would apply to people who regularly sail and actively work on ships for most of their working hours.
Suppose a maritime worker dies while at sea. The family can file a lawsuit under the Jones Act for compensation. They may use the payment to cover funeral expenses or lost income.
Under the Jones Act, you need to prove the negligence of the party you are filing a claim against. You must then show that this negligence contributed to your injuries. For example, you might claim that your employer failed to follow safe sailing practices or provide you with proper safety equipment.
How Damages Are Calculated in a Jones Act Claim
The way damages are calculated in a Jones Act claim may depend on the type of damages. For medical expenses, all medical bills will be reviewed, with an estimated value placed on future medical expenses based on the projected course of treatment.
Lost wages and lost earning capacity may be calculated based on your current wages, wages you miss while in recovery, and wages you are expected to miss over time due to your injuries.
A lawyer with our firm can help you assess all the ways your maritime injury has affected your life and help you understand the damages you may be able to recover under your Jones Act claim.
Note that per 46 United States Code § 30106, victims generally have three years to submit a negligence-based lawsuit under the Jones Act.
How Much Compensation Can I Get from a Jones Act Claim?
The amount of compensation you can get will depend on the specifics of your case. For example, how serious were your injuries? How did the negligent actions of your employer contribute to your injuries?
An attorney can help estimate how much compensation you may be able to get from a Jones Act claim.
What Should I do After an Injury at Sea?
Seek appropriate medical care based on your injuries. For example, you might get emergency care to set broken bones. Still, you might also have to do physical therapy later. Make sure you report your injury to your employer.
You should be in open communication with your employer to receive compensation for your injuries. An attorney can help you confirm that the Jones act applies to your case and review your legal options with you.
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Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Helps with Jones Act Claims
If you are a maritime worker who was injured at work and want to file a Jones Act claim, Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can help you. We serve clients in Lafayette and other parts of Louisiana. Our firm understands the laws that apply to Jones Act cases and can guide you through the entire legal process.
Our services may include:
- Developing a strategy for your case
- Collecting evidence
- Evaluating your damages and their value
- Filing your claim and/or lawsuit
- Communicating with all parties for you
- Negotiating for a settlement
- Defending your case at trial if necessary
Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss your claim today or fill out our contact form. Our staff can go over your accident, your potentially recoverable damages, and your legal options during this call.