Working on a boat is a dream career for some Kentucky residents. Whether one is a captain, mechanic or deckhand, working on a vessel can be very demanding. This type of work can also place an employee in harms way, as many risks can come with working on the water. When an employee is injured, this can greatly impact one’s ability to continue to work on top of the pain he or she is suffering because of the workplace incident.
When injuries are suffered in the course of employment, one automatically thinks that the next step would be to file for workers’ compensation. While this is a viable step for most injured employees to take, for injured crewmembers on a boat, he or she may be covered under the Jones Act.
Under workers’ compensation, an employee is able to recover benefits; however, as a trade-off, they are likely unable to sue their employer for these injuries. With the Jones Act, this is not always the case. In some matters, an injured seaman is able to sue his or her employer for injuries suffered.
The Jones Act requires that employers at sea provide a reasonably safe working environment. Thus, when such conditions are not provided, an employer could be held liable if injuries result because of it. This means that if even when a captain or another employee was negligent and caused the injuries, an employer may be held liable and sued by the injured employee.
This could occur when there is insufficient training of a captain or crewmembers, poorly maintained equipment, oil or slippery substance on the ship’s deck, assault by a fellow crewmember or the failure to provide crewmembers with the proper equipment.
When an employee on a vessel is injured, he or she is likely faced with financial concerns on top of the pain associated with the incident. This can be a challenging matter to navigate, as it is an emotional experience to work through the pain while figuring out how one will pay for their bills when they are no longer able to work. Understanding how to file a claim and how the Jones Act could helps an injured employee is a beneficial step to take.