When someone is injured at work, they may need compensation to cover their injuries. Under the Jones Act, eligible maritime and offshore workers can file a claim for any injury he or she suffered in the course of employment.

A Statute of Limitations is the time limit for bringing forth certain legal actions. The Statute of Limitations for bringing a claim under the Jones Act is covered in U.S Code 46 § 30106.

If a plaintiff doesn’t bring forth a civil action within 3 years of an injury or death arising out of a maritime tort, a claim can no longer be filed, or if filed may be dismissed, except as otherwise provided by law.

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Maritime Attorneys explain the Statute of Limitation in the Jones Act

The maritime attorneys at BOATLAW, LLP are knowledgeable about the Jones Act and the impact the statutes of limitations can have on a claim. Our attorneys realize that after an injury, medical bills and other costs can start to pile up.

The main goal of filing a civil claim for damages under the Jones Act is to restore victims back to where they were before the injury took place; emotionally, financially and physically. Call 1-800-262-8529 today for a free evaluation of your case.

We represent clients all throughout the Pacific Northwest with offices in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California.

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Information Center for Jones Act Statute of Limitations

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Elements of Statute of Limitations under the Jones Act

Employers at work have the responsibility of ensuring that workers are fully trained on all job assignments and have safe working conditions. If they fail to meet these expectations they may be responsible for compensating you for any injuries that happened as a result.

Under the Jones Act, only seamen are allowed to file for damages.

To qualify as a seaman, an injured worker must:

  • Contribute to work on the vessel.
  • Have a connection with the vessel while it is in operation.
  • Spend at least 30% of their time working aboard a U.S vessel in navigable waters. This percentage serves a guideline that can be departed from when appropriate.

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When can someone not file a lawsuit under the Jones Act?

Although it is fortunate that many seamen’s injuries are covered under the Jones Act, one cannot file a suit if:

  • It has been 3 years since the injury and/or accident occurred. However, mitigating circumstances may change the statute of limitations, for example if the injuries were not discovered until later, one might be able to proceed with filing this claim.
  • The claim was not in writing and to the government.
  • The injuries are not work related or did not occur while in service of a vessel.
  • The injured party is not a seaman.

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What is Maintenance and Cure?

Shipowners have a duty to provide maintenance and cure to injured seaman which includes the provision of medical care, treatment, and support while they recover from an injury that occurred while in service of a vessel. Maintenance and cure covers three main areas: (1) maintenance, (2) cure and (3) wages.

Maintenance includes the cost of lodging, transportation to a medical facility, and food. If an injured seaman is hospitalized, he or she is not entitled to maintenance because hospitalization includes lodging and food. Cure refers to the cost of medical attention, including the treatment and services of medical professionals.

An injured employee must prove that the injury or illness occurred while they were employed on a vessel as a seaman and the amount of maintenance and cure the plaintiff is entitled. Maintenance and cure is not a fault-based remedy, meaning that an employer’s liability is based on the employment relationship with the seaman.

Willful misbehavior of a seaman may forfeit his or her rights to maintenance and cure because injuries arose from their own willful misconduct.

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Additional Resources

46 U.S Code § 30106 – View Cornell Law School’s website to view the US code for the time limits on bringing maritime personal injury or death suits.

US Code Chapter 303 – Death on High Seas- View the web site of the Office of the Law Revision Counsel that has general and permanent United States laws related to seaman death on the high seas.

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Maritime Attorney for Statute of Limitations in Washington and Oregon

Regardless of whether your injuries were your fault or your employer’s fault, you may still be eligible to file for damages. In some cases, the awarded amount for damages will be reduced because of your own negligence.

Seamen injured as a result of their employer’s negligence deserve to receive compensation. These injuries can prevent you from working, cause you pain, and generate medical bills on top of ordinary living expnses. The attorneys at BOATLAW, LLP realize that an injury can place a lot of stress on you and your family.

Contact an experienced lawyer who has years of representing injured workers and their families throughout the Pacific Northwest. With offices in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California our attorneys are ready to represent you in California, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. Call 1-800-262-8529 today for a free consultation.

This article was last updated on Monday, July 9, 2018.