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What compensation is available for an injured seaman?

Getting injured while you are at work on a ship or boat is an unfortunate situation, but thankfully there is a federal law that protects you. The Jones Act gives you the right to file a lawsuit against your employer and receive compensation if you get an injury on the job as a seaman. If you are wondering what compensation is available under this law, keep reading.

Lost income

If you are a seaman who became injured while employed, you are entitled to receive lost wages from the beginning of the injury throughout the end of your voyage. This includes any employment benefits such as vacation time, 401(k) or pension contributions and health insurance. During this time, you are also entitled to receive your daily maintenance stipend.

Fault-based damages

As an injured seaman, you may also obtain damages from your employer for any negligence. Some degree of employer negligence is present in a significant amount of Jones Act personal injury claims. This includes if the vessel was “unseaworthy” in any manner, including slippery decks, stairs, ladders, hoists, hatches and galleys.

Pain and suffering

You can also receive compensation for the physical and mental consequences of your injury. This includes your pain from the physical injury as well as from disfigurement or scarring. Some possible mental aspects are emotional distress, mental anguish, inability to enjoy life, anger and anxiety. Severe mental pain and suffering may include sexual dysfunction, mood swings, sleep disturbances or post-traumatic stress disorder. Your rights and legal options as a seaman matter. Knowing the basics of your protections and opportunities to receive compensation can help you determine what to do next. Once you understand the rights granted to you through the Jones Act, it is time to determine how strong of a case you have and if you should bring a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. For guidance in this area, consult a maritime law attorney.

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