Negligence And Unseaworthiness Claims Under The Jones Act

Working on the water is inherently dangerous, and some injuries are not anyone’s fault. However, in some cases a shipowner, employer or captain can be held responsible when someone gets hurt at sea.

At Frischhertz & Impastato, we represent injured Gulf Coast seamen in cases involving claims under the Jones Act. In many of these claims, we try to prove that someone acted negligently, that the vessel itself was unseaworthy in some way or both.

When Is A Vessel Unseaworthy?

It is a shipowner’s duty to provide a seaworthy vessel and to maintain its seaworthiness. This extends to all parts of the ship and its equipment. To have an unseaworthiness claim under the Jones Act, several things must be true:

  • The injured person must be covered by the Jones Act.
  • Some part of the ship or the ship’s equipment must be shown to be unfit for its intended use or otherwise unseaworthy.
  • The unseaworthiness of the ship or its equipment must be connected to the injury.

What Is Negligent Behavior?

A shipowner has the duty to provide a safe working environment and take reasonable care to prevent injuries. If the owner neglects that duty and someone gets hurt because of the owner’s negligence, the injured person may have a claim under the Jones Act. Some forms of negligent behavior could include:

  • Failure to maintain equipment or fix known problems
  • Insufficient training for crew members
  • Requiring a crew to sail during extreme weather
  • Not hiring enough crew members or scheduling crew so there is insufficient time for rest

Have An Attorney Evaluate Your Situation

Jones Act claims are complicated and depend on a number of factors. With decades of experience helping injured mariners, the team at Frischhertz & Impastato can evaluate your claim and advise you on the best way to proceed.

To schedule a free case evaluation with a maritime lawyer, call our New Orleans office at 504-264-9915 or 866-920-5611. You may also contact us online.

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