Washington’s maritime industry is robust and diverse, including in the areas of commercial fishing, processing, and tug boating. Generally, if you work in these industries you will be protected by the Jones Act. The Jones Act gives seamen that are injured in the course of their employment by the negligence of their employer the right to recover for their lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical expenses, future medical expenses, and for pain and suffering. Seamen also have the right to recover against the vessel owner for injuries caused by an unsafe condition on their vessel. The duty of a vessel owner to provide a vessel that is reasonably safe for use is non-delegable, meaning that a vessel owner cannot avoid responsibility if its vessel is not seaworthy.
The Jones Act was a direct response by the United States Congress to the 1903 United States Supreme Court’s decision in The Osceola, 189 U.S. 158, 159, 23 S. Ct. 483, 47 L. Ed. 760 (1903), where the Court held that general maritime law precluded seaman’s suits against their employers for negligence. To qualify as a “seaman,” your duties must contribute to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission, and second, you must have a connection to a vessel in navigation that is substantial in duration and nature.
If you are employed in the maritime industry and you have been injured in the course of your employment, you require the assistance of an attorney experienced in the Jones Act to help you determine your rights. When it comes to getting the best possible results and protecting all of your rights for you and your family, you need the experience and skill of James Sorrels. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
Law Offices of James S. Sorrels
The Sunset Building
23607 Highway 99, Suite 3E
Edmonds, WA 98026
Law Offices of James S. Sorrels - Seattle
3131 Western Ave., Suite 410
Seattle, WA 98121
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