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Maritime Injuries - Damages under the Jones Act

The Jones Act is a federal law that gives seamen who are injured in the course of their employment the right to sue their employer for negligence and collect damages. Under the Jones Act, a maritime employer must provide the seamen with a reasonably safe place to work, and use ordinary care to maintain and keep the vessel on which the seamen work in a reasonably safe condition. Almost any unsafe condition on a vessel, no matter how small, can lead to liability under the Jones Act. In these cases the maritime injuries allow damages under the Jones Act.

A very important part of the Jones Act is the low burden of proving the employers negligence that causes the seaman's injury. Under the Jones Act, the injured seaman need only prove that the employer's negligence played only a small partial part in causing the seaman's injuries. This means that the injured seaman would only have to show that the negligence of the employer only partially caused his or her injuries.

Examples of negligence under the Jones Act:

• Improperly maintained equipment

• Failure to provide the crew members with the proper equipment

• Failure to properly train the crew members

• Failure to require the crew members to follow safe work methods

• Maintaining an inexperienced crew

• Not having enough crew members

• Operation of the vessel in bad weather

• Grease or oil on the deck

Maritime workers injured under the Jones Act have a right to maintenance (money for household expenses) and cure (payment of medical bills). In addition, maritime injuries allow damages under the Jones Act including pain and suffering, future medical damages and loss of future income.

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