Clients say it best

I want to thank you again for what you have done for my family...

Attorney
Referrals

Year after year, we deliver unmatched results.

Careers

We are always looking for people who will add to our continuing success.

Injuries to Sailors & Seamen (Jones Act)

When you work on the water, seeking damages for on-the-job injuries is different than other kinds of lawsuits.

For most employees, workers’ compensation is an appropriate remedy for workplace injuries. That’s not the case for sailors, seamen, and others who make their living shipboard. Instead, these employees must rely on a federal law known as the Jones Act, for their compensation.

What Is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act is a comprehensive United States statute that regulates commerce in our nation’s waters and between our ports. Additionally, it empowers injured sailors to recover compensation for unseaworthiness and any negligence committed by a ship’s owner, captain, or fellow crew members, mirroring the protections afforded to railroad workers under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.

What Kinds of Workers Does the Jones Act Cover?

Not everyone who works onboard a watercraft qualifies for protection. Under the Jones Act, a seaman who seeks to bring a civil action is defined as a worker who:

  • Spends at least 30% of his or her total employment time on a vessel or a specific fleet of vessels.
  • Contributes to the work of the vessel and the accomplishment of its mission.

Does the Type of Vessel Make a Difference to a Jones Act Claim?

The size, cargo, number of workers, or commercial purpose has no impact on a seamen’s claim for injuries under the Jones Act.  The only requirement is that the vessel on which the seaman works at the time of the injury must be “in navigation,” meaning that it is:

  • Afloat and capable of moving (including while docked or moored, but not in drydock)
  • In operation (under its own power or under sail)
  • On navigable waters (including oceans, rivers, and inland lakes shared by two or more states or linked to other navigable bodies of water

What Damages Does the Jones Act Contemplate?

Unlike other personal injury lawsuits, the seaman must only prove that the employer’s negligence – however small – contributed to his or her injuries. Once this threshold is met, the plaintiff can recover for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Expenses related to medical care, treatment, and rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

In tragic cases where the employer’s negligence causes the seaman’s death, the family can also sue under the Jones Act to recover for the loss of economic benefits.

Sommers Schwartz’s accomplished litigators have experience in a broad range of personal injuries, along with knowledge and experience in statutory actions such as Jones Act lawsuits. If you earn your income on the water, and a shipboard injury has placed your health and your livelihood at risk, please contact us today to discuss your situation and the ways that we can help.

A Trusted Authority

Our attorneys have been featured on local and national media outlets, including:

sommers-media-compressor

I greatly appreciate your assistance throughout this process.

I’m happy to put this case behind me once and for all. I greatly appreciate your assistance throughout this process. Thank you, Tad! I’m happily employed now and am enjoying a fresh start.

About Matthew Turner and Tad Roumayah…

As a President and CEO, I have had the opportunity to work with many law firms and attorneys on various legal matters. Recently, I became in need of personal representation in a lawsuit. After a review of alternatives, I received a recommendation for Sommers Schwartz, P.C, and specifically to the…

Mr. Watkins exceeded my expectations.

The settlement that Mr. Watkins achieved was beyond my expectations! Without hesitation, I would and have recommended him to my friends and family. He and the staff all have been extremely cooperative, informative, and professional.

You were kind enough to listen.

When it seemed that we would not be able to get anyone to listen to us regarding the details of our accident and any potential merit to a legal case, you were kind enough to listen, and subsequently bring this matter to a positive resolution.

I am so grateful to have had Mr. Matt Curtis help me with my very tough case.

This is my first time working with an attorney and I am so grateful to have had Mr. Matt Curtis help me with my very tough case. Many well-known lawyers across the state wouldn’t take my case but Mr. Curtis gave it his all. He is a very hard worker and so driven. If it wasn’t for his dedication, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I will always recommend Mr. Watkins and Sommers Schwartz.

After meeting Mr. Watkins in person and working with him during the proceedings, I realized that the words in his website bio were true. He is a FIGHTER for his clients. No matter what time of day I called, he immediately returned my call. I am glad I made an EXCELLENT decision in selecting him.

Impeccable ethics and an unparalleled work ethic.

Tad Roumayah helped me seek a settlement with my former employer to my satisfaction. He is a man of integrity, who has an exceptional knowledge of the law. Impeccable ethics and an unparalleled work ethic make him an outstanding attorney who is capable, meticulous, and diligent.

Mr. Watkins is extremely competent and professional.

Mr. Watkins is extremely competent and professional. I would recommend him in a heartbeat!

You have become a valuable resource and trusted advisor.

You obviously took some time to understand my situation. You engaged me in meaningful conversation from the legal standpoint and presented my options, in a way that I could understand and therefore make an informed decision.

Our Clients Say It Best

googlereviews
40 5-star reviews on Google