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Jones Act Attorney in New Orleans Discusses Arbitration of a Jones Act Case

A Jones Act attorney in New Orleans is often the best resource for information regarding a Jones Act claim. The Jones Act allows maritime workers the right to pursue civil litigation against their employer for injuries and accidents sustained due to negligence. Unfortunately, some employers will try to limit the costs of a lawsuit by attempting to compel the employee to arbitration.
What is Arbitration?Arbitration is an alternative means to resolve disputes outside of a traditional courtroom setting. Less formal than a trial, it involves presenting evidence and testimony to a neutral third party, called an arbitrator. Arbitration is generally binding, which means that the decision rendered by the arbitrator is final, and must be adhered to by both parties.Arbitration awards are often arrived at much more quickly than they would be in the course of civil litigation, thus making the overall process less expensive than a trial.  However, there are several drawbacks to settling disputes with arbitration, such as:

  • the arbitrator’s decision being final and usually cannot be appealed;
  • since proceedings are confidential; there is no oversight to ensure an arbitrator’s decision is neutral and unbiased; and
  • depending on the terms of the arbitration agreement, the rules of how an arbitrator may be selected may be predetermined and may limit your input.

Arbitration & the Jones Act

The Jones Act provides seamen and other maritime employees the right to a trial by jury when an employer’s negligence caused or contributed to a workplace injury. An arbitration agreement may nullify that right.

After a work-related injury, an employer may attempt to have the injured employee sign an arbitration agreement. A maritime employer may refuse to provide medical treatment or offer financial incentives to tempt an employee to sign such an agreement.

It may be disadvantageous for an injured maritime employee to relinquish his or her right to a jury trial. A Jones Act claim may entitle you to compensation for pain and suffering, in addition to medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Arbitration may minimize the compensation you receive and prevent you from appealing the decision.

A Jones Act Attorney in New Orleans Can Help Protect Your Rights

Before signing any document given to you by your employer, first consult with an attorney. If you have already signed an arbitration agreement, you still have the right to legal counsel. At the Young Firm, we focus exclusively on maritime law claims. To obtain a free Maritime Injury Law guide, or to schedule a consultation with a Jones Act attorney in New Orleans, call  866-715-3664.

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