Working on the seas comes with unique dangers. You may enjoy the job’s adventurous nature. But cramped quarters, slippery surfaces and toxic materials pose as high a risk to your safety as choppy waves and turbulent storms.

Maritime work is often unforgiving, and you will likely worry about your rights if you end up injured. Understanding these rights can protect you in case of an accident.

Seamen’s rights

As a maritime worker spending most of your time on the water, you qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act. Seamen cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits under federal or Texas statutes. But the Jones Act protects you in case of injury. This law allows you to sue your employer for negligence if you hurt yourself on board.

The Jones Act places the burden of injury on maritime companies, rather than the worker. Under the act, your employer is held liable if:

  • The vessel has broken or improperly maintained equipment
  • The ship’s working conditions are unsafe, especially if there are slip risks or chemicals on deck
  • You learned unsafe practices while training and continued them on the job
  • A coworker assaulted you

A seaman’s burden of proof for receiving benefits is far lower than in most workplace injury cases. Maritime injury claims have a three-year window for filing from the accident’s date. And depending on your jurisdiction or the accident’s impact, you may earn interest on your damages.

Shore up support

Maritime law seems complex. But once you understand the Jones Act, you’ll discover plenty of protections that prevent you from going adrift in case of injury. Working with an attorney who has maritime law experience can help you achieve the benefits you deserve.