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Maritime And Jones Act FAQ

With offices in Belle Chasse, the maritime law attorneys of Ballay, Braud & Colon, PLC, represent injured maritime workers throughout the New Orleans area. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding maritime law and how maritime workers can obtain compensation for injuries.

After a maritime accident, should I give a statement to the company investigator or insurance company?

No — not until you have spoken with an experienced maritime lawyer. The questions asked by company investigators and insurers are designed to shift blame onto you. Even if you think the questions are simple enough, your statements could be used to minimize or even deny compensation for your injury. As soon as you are able, arrange a confidential consultation with a maritime law attorney at Ballay, Braud & Colon, PLC.

What kind of benefits am I entitled to under general maritime law?

When a maritime worker is injured on the job, general maritime law provides for maintenance and cure. Maintenance means compensation for daily living expenses until further medical treatment is no longer helpful to you. Cure means medical benefits. Your employer is responsible for providing maintenance and cure, and your right to these benefits goes into effect automatically after a maritime injury. You should not be required to sign a release in order to receive these benefits.

Depending on your situation and the type of work you do, you may also be entitled to compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) or The Jones Act.

What is The Jones Act?

The Jones Act is also known as The Merchant Marine Act of 1920. It is a federal statute that allows injured crew members to sue their employers for monetary damages.

Who can file a lawsuit under The Jones Act?

Only seaman can sue their employers under The Jones Act. To qualify as a seaman, you must:

  • Spend at least 30 percent of your working time on a United States vessel in navigable waters
  • Have an established connection with the vessel
  • Contribute to the work of the vessel

What am I entitled to under The Jones Act?

If you are a seaman who was injured due to employer negligence, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical expenses and any pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the accident.

What is the statute of limitations for a Jones Act claim?

Three years, but there are exceptions. If you were injured while at sea but did not notice any signs of harm until later, the statute of limitations may end three years after the date when you discovered the injury.

How long will it take to receive benefits?

Maintenance and cure benefits are triggered immediately after a maritime injury. Damages such as pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity typically must be recovered through a settlement or trial. It is therefore crucial that you have a maritime and admiralty law attorney on your side every step of the way to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. You can be sure that your employer and the insurance company will have their own lawyers, and it is only fair that you have experienced legal representation in your corner, fighting to maximize the compensation you receive.

Contact Ballay, Braud & Colon, PLC

For a free consultation to discuss your case with an experienced Louisiana maritime attorney, contact us online or call us locally at 504-266-0368 or toll free at 800-455-5204. Our office hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. We are here to help.