You may be among the many New Orleans residents who make a living as a commercial fisherman. However, the work can be dangerous, and so can conditions on board the fishing vessel.
If you fall and hit your head because of fish slime on the deck, can you file a claim for compensation under the Jones Act?
What could happen
Perhaps the fishing boat you work on is three days out when a storm comes up, but regardless of the weather, every crew member has work to do. You are walking toward the stern when you slip and fall. The pitch of the vessel throws you backward, and you strike your head on the deck.
No fault of your own
You slip in some oily fish slime, which someone should have cleaned up after bringing the latest catch on board. You suspect that negligence might fall to the newest crew member who is young and still in training. Most of the others are veterans who know that they must clean up spills and slop of any kind on the deck immediately. If you were responsible for your own accident, you would probably not qualify for Jones Act assistance. However, this legislation was created specifically to help a seaman who suffers an injury due to the unsafe or negligent actions of an employer, the captain of a vessel or a crewmate.
Outcomes of the injury
Maybe the fall you take results in a concussion, and the concussion leads to traumatic brain injury, which will require medical treatment and therapy plus weeks off from work. Because your injury is the result of someone’s negligence, you can seek compensation under the Jones Act. Maritime law is different from workers’ compensation yet very beneficial to accident victims.
The owner of the fishing boat may argue against your claim of negligence but, in this case, to no avail. You have the right to coverage both for your day-to-day living expenses and the cost of your medical care.