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Special protections for maritime workers in Florida

There is water surrounding almost all of Florida and maritime commerce is a large part of the economy. Many people work on merchant ships, cruise ships, off-shore oil rigs, commercial fishing companies, at the docks, in shipyards and other aspects of maritime commerce. These people, like people who work on land, generally rely on their employment to provide for themselves and their families. If they are unable to work it can be very detrimental for them.

However, there are many hazards on ships and sometimes maritime accidents occur. Maritime workers can be injured as a result and some of these injuries can be very devastating. They can completely change the workers lives and prevent them from being able to work. If this occurs simply paying their monthly expenses can be difficult. Add in having to pay the medical bills and other expenses associated with the injury and these accidents can be devastating.

Luckily, these workers may be protected by the Jones Act. This law protects employees who spend at least 30% of their time at work on navigable ships, which includes ships which are docked. The employers are required to provide a reasonable safe working environment and if they do not they may be liable for injuries that result. The employee only needs to prove that the employer's negligence played a role in the accident, not that it was the direct cause of the accident. This makes these employers liable for more accidents than other personal injury cases.

Many people in Florida rely on the maritime industry to provide for their needs. However, many maritime workers are injured on ships each year and are unable to work as a result. These workers may also incur significant medical bills as well. However, these workers may be entitled to compensation through the Jones Act which can pay for the medical expenses and lost wages, which can be extremely valuable. Experienced attorneys understand this complex area of law and may be able to help one through a difficult time.

Source:, "The Jones Act and Merchant Marines" accessed Nov. 29, 2017

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