HomeLibraryJones ActComparative Negligence Law of Admiralty: How It Affects Your Jones Act Claim

Comparative Negligence Law of Admiralty: How It Affects Your Jones Act Claim

Jones Act claims are a form of legal recourse for seamen injured while on duty. In the claims, the workers allege that the employer’s negligence caused the injury. However, the worker’s degree of fault for the accident also plays a role in the total value of the settlement.

Understanding How Comparative Negligence Law Works in Admiralty

The courts will take a look at all the facts surrounding the accident and determine whether or not the worker was partly responsible. If the courts decide that the worker did, in fact, contribute to the accident, it will reduce the compensable damages paid to the worker.

For example, if a seaman failed to follow proper safety procedures when using a poorly maintained piece of equipment that caused injury, the courts would assign a certain degree of fault to him. The court would reduce the total amount he receives in proportion to his degree of fault.

If a seaman’s damages totaled 1,000,000 dollars, for instance, but the courts determine that he was 50 percent to blame, he will only be able to collect $500,000 from the employer.

Determining Comparative Negligence in Jones Act Cases

When the lawyers and courts begin determining who was at fault for an accident, they will look at factors such as:

  • witness statements;
  • the safety of the work environment;
  • ship and maintenance logs;
  • whether the seaman knew of the dangers;
  • instances of malfunctioning or poorly maintained equipment;
  • whether the seaman had proper training; and
  • any other dynamics that contributed to the accident.

There are numerous mitigating elements to consider as well; some of which would benefit a seaman’s Jones Act claim, and some that could harm it. For instance, if the courts determine that the worker was deliberately trying to hurt himself, or if he was grossly intoxicated from alcohol not obtained from the employer, he may not recover any compensation.

On the other hand, if the seaman’s attorney can prove that he was young and inexperienced, or was just following the order of a superior, he will not be considered liable for the injuries. Because each case is different and because proving comparative negligence is crucial in a Jones Act claim, it’s important to contact an attorney to handle the case.

What to do if You’re Being Wrongly Blamed

The employer’s legal team will do everything they can do divert blame and make counterclaims that the worker is at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, a lot of seriously injured and disabled seamen are wrongly blamed for injuries or are assigned far too much fault.

Consequently, their damages are reduced and they are offered lower settlements than what they deserve. If you are trying to recover compensation after a maritime accident, contact us at The Young Firm to discuss the specifics of your case.

We know how to build a case that effectively:

  • demonstrates the employer’s liability;
  • develops a defense against comparative negligence; and
  • pushes for the highest financial award to which you’re legally entitled.


Call us today 866-715-3664 for a free consultation.

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