Brain Injuries in Jones Act Cases
Seamen are exposed to constant dangers while working aboard commercial fishing and shipping vessels. Accidents at sea can easily result in traumatic brain injuries. These brain injuries are life-altering and can impact all areas of a seaman’s life, costing them millions of dollars in medical care and lost wages.
There are four primary types of brain injuries: concussion, contusion, penetration brain injury, and anoxic brain injury. The consequences of a brain injury are unpredictable, and it can have behavioral, cognitive, mental, and physical effects. Some of the wide-ranging symptoms resulting from brain injuries include:
- Permanent disability,
- Impaired mobility,
- Balance disorders,
- Memory loss,
- Vision problems,
- Speech impairment,
- Loss of smell and taste,
- Hearing problems, and
Traumatic brain injuries range in severity. Seamen may be able to quickly return to work on the vessel or may require long-term medical care and be unable to work again. Even if the brain injury does not appear to be severe, you should immediately reach out to a medical professional and a maritime attorney, because symptoms could present themselves later, and you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. You must not let your employer minimize the severity of your injury. In general, a seaman has three years from the date of the injury to file a claim under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act is a federal law that gives seamen injured during the course of their employment the right to sue their employer for negligence damages. It is also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. Under the Jones Act, employers are required to provide a safe workplace to their employees. There are many potential unsafe working conditions that could lead to liability, including a breakdown of equipment, unsafe conditions, improper training, failure to provide adequate safety measures, and unsafe storage of equipment and cargo. Additionally, an employer is responsible for the negligence of other employees and supervisors.
The burden of proof in a Jones Act claim is much lower than other personal injury claims. The seaman must only prove that the employer’s negligence contributed in some way to the injury, no matter how small. The employer could be liable under the Jones even if there were other, more significant, contributing causes to the injury. Your attorney must complete a careful investigation and consider the full circumstances of the accident to determine whether or not the employer was negligent.
There is expansive compensation available under the Jones Act, including lost past and future wages, current and future medical expenses, lost earning capacity, disability, and pain and suffering. In addition, the seamen may be entitled to further relief under general maritime law.
Kraft Davies Olsson PLLC is a nationally recognized leader in maritime personal injury law. Kraft Davies has significant experience representing seamen who have suffered brain injuries against vessel owners, maritime employers, and maritime insurance companies. If you or a loved one were injured in a commercial fishing or shipping accident, contact the attorneys at Kraft Davies today at 206-624-8844 or through this website.