Attorney Walter Gabriel has a long history in the courtroom, having served as both a prosecutor and now as a Louisiana Jones Act Attorney handling various injury claims. He has gained deep insight into the ways in which a dispute may develop over the course of litigation. And how best to navigate the case so as to reach a favorable result.
In the United States, certain qualifying seamen may receive compensation under the federal Jones Act (also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920) for injuries they suffer while on-the-job. The Jones Act is highly protective of seamen’s rights, and liability can give rise to full and adequate damages. As such, maritime defendants have long-attempted to circumvent application of the Act.
If you’ve been injured in a scenario that is likely to invoke maritime law, whether through the Jones Act or otherwise, we encourage you to contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC for comprehensive assistance with your dispute.
The Jones Act and Its Advantages
Under the Jones Act, employers must provide their seamen employees with a reasonably safe place to work. Failure to use ordinary care to maintain a vessel in a reasonably safe condition constitutes negligence under the Jones Act. This negligence requirement is quite a bit less restrictive than the sort of negligence that the law requires to establish a cause of action in standard personal injury litigation, however, as a claim may be actionable under the Jones Act so long as the employer’s failure to provide a reasonably safe place to work contributed partially to the injuries suffered by the employer.
For example, suppose that an improperly secured container causes your injury while aboard the cargo ship on which you work. Perhaps your employer (the shipping company) failed to adequately inspect and maintain the containers and their latches. The law requires this to ensure that the equipment was in good working order.
If your employer’s negligence was partially responsible, then you may receive damages from them under the Jones Act. This is true, even if the negligence of a third-party unloading the containers primarily caused your injury.
Jones Act damages are not limited, as is typically the case with traditional workers’ compensation. Under the Jones Act, an injured plaintiff may sue and recover a range of damages. Such damages could include compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and more.
Who is Eligible for Jones Act Compensation?
Jones Act compensation is available to certain qualified seamen. The specific requirements are as follows:
- At least 30 percent of the seaman’s working time must be with their employment-related vessel;
- The seaman’s duties must directly contribute to the vessel’s functions or other related tasks; and
- The vessel must be in navigation (i.e., floating on a navigable waterway, such as a river, ocean, or lake bounding two states or linked to a river or ocean, and able to travel without the assistance of a tug.
For example, a worker who performs maintenance on a ship once it has been brought into a warehouse would likely not receive Jones Act compensation. But a crew member of a cargo ship that spends most working time aboard may receive Jones Act compensation.
Contact an Experienced Louisiana Jones Act Attorney for a Free Consultation
The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC is a personal injury firm representing the interests of those who have suffered harm in a variety of personal injury scenarios, including maritime injury disputes centered around a worker’s right to compensation. Jones Act litigation can be quite complex. It’s important that you work with a team of attorneys that has proved capable of handling such challenging disputes.
Ready to speak to an attorney about your Jones Act claim? Call 318-445-2121 or send us a message online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Louisiana Jones Act attorney at the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC.