Maritime workers are employed in one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. In fact, crewman and other sea vessel workers are exposed to numerous hazards every day while performing their work duties. That is why the fishing industry ranks as the 2nd most dangerous industry in the country with a fatality rate of 85 out of 100,000 workers. Only logging workers have more dangerous jobs.

Fortunately, all seamen are protected under the Jones Act of 1920. This act provides comprehensive coverage to all maritime workers who are injured or killed on the job.

Who Is Covered Under the Jones Act?

Anyone who works onboard a sea vessel is covered under this law. This includes, but is not limited to, fishermen, seamen and crew members who work on:

  • Ships
  • Boats
  • Barges
  • Tugboats
  • Crab boats
  • Tour boats
  • Sea tankers
  • Offshore oil rigs
  • Riverboats
  • Trawlers
  • Water taxis
  • Ferries

In order to qualify for coverage under the Jones Act, an injured maritime worker must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be classified as a “seaman”
  • Must sustain injury or illness while performing work duties
  • Injury must be the result of negligence on the part of their employer or another employee

In order to be classified as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, you must spend more than 30% of your time on a vessel in navigation.

It is important to know that maritime workers are not barred recovery under the Jones Act even if they are partially responsible for the accident and their own injuries. However, the amount of recoverable damages may be reduced in proportion to the amount they are liable.

Damages Recoverable Under Jones Act Claims

Maritime employees who are injured or killed because of their employer’s negligence can suffer unimaginable losses. These employees are able to recover compensation to help pay for maintenance and cure, which includes:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Room and board (weekly subsistence rate)
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium

In some cases, injured maritime workers may be entitled to punitive damages, especially if an employer refuses to pay for injuries or damages.


Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

Maritime workers who are not covered under the Jones Act because they are not seafarers working onboard a navigating vessel are covered by the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Under certain circumstances, workers may be covered under both the LHWCA and the Jones Act.  These are claims where there may be recovery under 905(b) of the Longshore Act.

Maritime employees who may be covered under this act include:

  • Longshore workers
  • Dock workers
  • Harbor construction workers
  • Shipbuilders
  • Ship-repairers

In order to qualify for this coverage, the injury must have occurred on the areas surrounding a navigable body of water in the United States, such as on piers, docks, terminals, wharves and unloading areas and their must be “vessel negligence.” Herschensohn Law has experience litigating 905(b) claims.


Contact Our Seattle Maritime Attorneys to Learn More About Jones Act Claims

If you or someone you love has been injured in a maritime accident anywhere in the state of Washington, it is important to speak to an experienced maritime attorney immediately. At Herschensohn Law PLLC, our Seattle maritime attorneys know that injured seamen need an experienced lawyer on their side to ensure that they receive the maximum compensation.

Our law firm serves King and Pierce counties from our offices in West Seattle, Tacoma, Kenmore, and Kent. We can answer any questions you have about Jones Act Claims or 905(b) claims. Call us today at (206) 588-4344 or fill out our confidential contact form for a free initial consultation and review of your potential case.