Anyone from Kentucky knows the value rivers still have on the industry. No matter how far technology comes, there will always be beauty in how simple and effective it is to load freight onto a sturdy boat and send it down the river. A healthy crew and trustworthy vessel are two things that have kept the American way of life humming along for centuries.
No matter how strong a crew is, when a river worker is injured on the job, they need to take time to recover. Thanks to The Jones Act this isn’t nearly as difficult as it once was. Now the hardworking men and women that work the river are due most of the same benefits as the people who work on the land.
What The Jones Act does to help you
The Jones Act affects the relationship between you, a crew member, and your employer, the master or owner of the vessel you are working on. The Act makes the Federal Employers Liability Act applicable to seamen. This effectively means that if you are injured due to your employer’s negligence, they can be held responsible.
The master of the vessel has several responsibilities while their crew is living and working onboard, including:
- Maintaining equipment and appliances
- Selecting a competent crew
- Preventing assaults between crew members during work hours
- Giving responsible orders that are not dangerous
- Not intentionally steering into bad weather
- Providing access to medical treatment
- Attempting to rescue crewmen
In addition to these responsibilities, if the master allows drunken workers on the vessel while they are liveaboard, then they are responsible for injuries the seamen might sustain while coming on or off-board.
Common injuries river workers face
Working on a boat can be a dangerous vocation. River workers face several types of injuries as they carry out their duties, but some of the most common include:
- Neck and back injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Broken bones
- Damage to hearing
- Spinal cord injuries
- Illness from living conditions
If you have suffered any of these injuries, seeking compensation and other damages is often your best course of action. It is critical to remember that if you were living aboard a vessel and sustained an injury at any time – while on the job or not – you can also seek compensation.
Don’t face the huge medical costs of these injuries alone. Workers’ compensation and personal injury damages can help earn you financial considerations for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of support to your family, physical and emotional pain, and many other things.
The men and women that choose to make their livings on boats have more workers’ rights than ever before. Make sure you make use of them if you’re injured in a maritime accident.