Whether a merchant mariner works on a tugboat or tanker, in the open ocean or in inland water, they are entitled to Jones Act and maritime law benefits. This means that merchant mariners can receive benefits that exceed the amount offered to those covered by workers’ compensation law.
These seamen do not need a merchant mariner’s license or even a license to qualify for benefits under the Jones Act. In addition, merchant mariners do not have to live or sleep on the vessel to be eligible for maritime law benefits. In most cases, merchant mariners only have to have a connection to a vessel that is in navigation. The term “in navigation” refers to vessels that float and accomplish a specific duty. It is also important to remember that a “vessel” is not determined by size, as some work barges can qualify as vessels for the purpose of obtaining benefits for an injured merchant mariner.
If a merchant mariner qualifies for a Jones Act lawsuit, they may be able to recover the following:
- Earnings lost while injured
- Future earnings if the merchant marine cannot return to work
- Retraining costs
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Maintenance and cure