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Jones Act Lawsuits – Getting Your Money Fast

If You Are a Seaman Who Has Been Injured at Sea, the Jones Act Protects You

Jones Act Lawsuits – Getting Your Money Fast. When a person classified as a Seaman is injured at sea, on nearly any type of seagoing vessel, they are protected by the Jones Act. When employers fail to provide adequate compensation under the Jones Act, Jones Act Lawsuits often follow.

There are approximately 40,000 vessels employed in the Maritime Industry in the United States, and over 74,000 employees working on those vessels or in shipyards around the world.

And much like the rest of the transportation industry (trucking and railroading for example), a lot of work in the Maritime Industry is dangerous and results in accidents, injuries, and death.

But, because of the Jones Act, there is a difference between being injured at sea versus being injured on the railroad or driving a semi truck. The Jones Act provides very different (and agreeable) avenues for the injured person to get compensation directly from their employer as opposed to dealing with workers compensation.

For the Law firms who specialize in Jones Act Lawsuits, suing maritime employers is big business. Jones Act lawsuits have the potential to turn into large settlements for the injured person or their family, and Plaintiff Attorneys who take these cases mostly work on a contingency fee basis, receiving up to 30% of whatever monetary compensation their client receives as the result of their work. And for the law firms who specialize in bringing these cases, it is generally well understood that winning a Jones Act case can be easier than other types of personal injury plaintiff work.

One important aspect of Jones Act Lawsuits most people don’t understand is that these lawsuits can take a long time to wind their way through the court system. And once the case concludes, or the defendant agrees to a settlement, there isn’t someone waiting in the lobby to write a check to the plaintiff or their attorneys. It can take months or even years before a plaintiff receives their settlement money, and in some cases, the court may allow the defendant to pay in installments (depending on the size of the settlement or judgment) rather than one lump sum.

One way plaintiffs and attorneys who are involved in Jones Act Lawsuits can get some of their settlement (or judgment) money faster, is to take out a cash advance on their lawsuit settlement with a company like Balanced Bridge Funding. Plaintiffs and their attorneys are both eligible to receive some of their settlement money (or contingency fees respectively) by selling it to a Legal Funding company that specializes in post settlement funding. We will explain the details of how this works in the article that follows.

The rest of this article will explain more about:

  • What the Jones Act is
  • How it works
  • Who it is for
  • Who it is not for
  • The size of settlements and judgments that have been awarded in Jones Act Cases
  • How plaintiffs and attorneys can get some of their settlement money faster

What is The Jones Act?

The Jones Act is a federal law that provides seamen and other maritime workers with certain rights, including the right to sue their employers for negligence. The law was passed in 1920 and has been amended several times since then. It provides seamen with the right to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, death, and other losses suffered due to an employer’s negligence.

The Jones Act also requires employers to provide seamen with safe working conditions, including the appropriate levels of safety equipment, properly maintained equipment, non-violent co-workers, seaworthy vessels, and proper lifesaving devices.

If a seaman is successful in proving their employer and/or the operator of the vessel was even partially negligent or even if a co-worker was negligent in their actions, a sailor may be able to recover lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering for any injuries suffered. Additionally, if a family member is killed due to an employer’s negligence, the Jones Act provides a survivor with the right to seek damages from the employer as well.

What Does the Jones Act Do?

The Jones Act offers essential protection to workers classified as “seamen,” when they are in the process of doing their job and can potentially be exposed to hazards. Any worker who is covered under the Jones Act has two main types of claims open for them if injured on the job.

#1: A “maintenance and cure” claim. The Jones Act guarantees any seaman who has suffered a work related injury compensation for their everyday expenses and required medical costs (maintenance & cure), regardless of the cause or whether there was any negligence involved.

#2: A negligence claim against the employer. The Jones Act allows a sailor to claim damages for any injury related losses, provided they can demonstrate some form of negligence on behalf of the employer. One unique aspect that makes the Jones Act administration different from other forms of negligence claims is that the operator or employer need only be partially, or in any manner, negligent – whereas in many other types of lawsuits against employers, they must be shown to be 100% at fault, which is not easy to do as extenuating circumstances or multiple factors are often at play during an injury accident.

Who Is a “Seaman” Under the Jones Act?

The term “seaman” typically describes any individual—from crew member to captain—who spends a substantial portion of their working hours on a water vessel. To be eligible for the Jones Act, part-time seamen must dedicate at least 30% of their job time aboard a ship or boat.

As an example, although they are located “in the sea” – they are not “on the sea” and because of this, an oil rig platform would probably not qualify an oil rig worker as a Seaman under the Jones Act. However, a person working on a ship type vessel typically associated with deep water oil drilling might qualify as a seaman depending on the type of vessel. Also, especially in the energy sector, there are some vessels that are both ships, and platforms called Lift Boats, so it isn’t always so clear if someone will qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act.

Longshoremen do not typically qualify for compensation under the Jones Act because they do not qualify as seamen. However, they are usually able to receive compensation for job-related harm through the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, which provides much of the same protections to longshoremen that the Jones Act provides to seamen.

What Is Negligence Under the Jones Act?

Working as a seaman is not without certain risks, and the Jones Act ensures that employers take all reasonable steps to provide their employees with safe working conditions. Specifically, it mandates that employers furnish an appropriate workplace for seafarers; ensure the vessel remains in good condition; and guard against any hazards or dangers associated with its operations, which can include negligent co-workers as well as equipment.

According to the Jones Act, a maritime employer is responsible for any negligence of its employees – this includes not just their captain but also the other crew members. To be successful in making a claim and receive extra funds from the Jones Act, an injured seaman must demonstrate:

that either an owner or captain on board their vessel was irresponsible, and that said negligence led directly to their harm.

The Jones Act Favors Employees

Under the Jones Act, employers must be held accountable for any hazardous conditions present on a vessel. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Poorly maintained equipment
  • Not providing employees with the proper equipment to do their work
  • Being assaulted by a co-worker
  • Broken equipment
  • Poor, improper, or inadequate training
  • Slips and falls
  • Using unsafe work methods
  • Negligence on the part of co-workers

What Are Some Examples of Jones Act Negligence?

Imagine a scenario where a worker decides to skip the step of “tagging out” a piece of equipment while they are conducting routine maintenance, and to do that maintenance, they have removed some safety shields. Then another employee comes along and is injured using the equipment because it was not tagged “out of service” and the safety shields had been removed. The injured deckhand has a good chance of suing their employer for negligence under the Jones Act since the first deckhand failed to provide a reasonably safe workplace by properly tagging the equipment “out of service” while the safety guards were removed.

Another example might be if the ship owner fails to have the vessel’s equipment properly maintained. Perhaps someone failed to properly inspect one of the ships cranes and as a result a piece of equipment fell on a crew member below – the ship’s owner may be liable for failing to properly maintain the equipment, resulting in an injury, or even death in some cases if a heavy object falls on someone. A lawsuit just like this resulted in a $14 Million settlement for a worker who had a piece of drill pipe dropped on their head.

Another example could be if an employer hires (or fails to remove) a worker who is prone to violence or displays violent behavior, and that employee injures a co-worker with a violent act. If you are assaulted by another crew member, you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act since the employer failed to provide you with a safe place to work. So, all those fistfights you see on the TV Show, The Deadliest Catch – the owner of those ships could potentially be held liable for each and every one of those incidents under the Jones Act if someone was injured, or if they fail to remove those crew members and they cause harm later.

Lower Threshold for Negligence by Employer Under the Jones Act – A Key Component

In most legal cases where the plaintiff is claiming negligence, they must prove that their injury was caused entirely or mostly by the defendant’s negligence. This means that if there were other factors that contributed to the injury, it may be hard to prove the defendant was specifically negligent.

However, under the Jones Act, a plaintiff need only prove that the employer’s negligence played a role – any role at all – in their injuries. Even if there were multiple factors contributing to the injury or occurrence, under the Jones Act it doesn’t matter – if the employer played ANY role in the injury, the employee could recover damages.

This is a key differentiating factor for seamen under the Jones Act. As you can imagine, it is also one of the reasons Lawyers who specialize in Admiralty Law, like taking on Jones Act cases – because the burden of proof is low, and the settlements are often high. This makes these cases easier to win for their clients. Plus, with the Jones Act in place, employers have an additional incentive to settle cases quickly – because they would not have an easy time proving they had ZERO involvement in an injury of their employee.

An “Unseaworthiness” Claim

In accordance with the special “maritime law” that typically applies to ships and boats, a seaworthy vessel has an appropriate hull, gear, and staff in terms of design, upkeep, and caliber for completing their respective duties.

Although a vessel may be able to sail and perform navigational tasks, it is typically considered “unseaworthy” when crew members’ safety and well-being are put at risk. This usually occurs if crew members are not provided with safe and suitable equipment to perform their work, or the crew itself is not safe and therefore cannot provide employees with a safe working environment. But it might just as easily extend to the use of drugs by other crew members or the intoxication of a crew member. If your crew is drunk or high, your vessel is not seaworthy.

How Do You Prove “Unseaworthiness”?

An injured seaman need not prove that the vessel was unconditionally unseaworthy and risky to sail. All they have to do is demonstrate that some portion of it, such as equipment or personnel, were not working properly, leading to an accident resulting in injury.

This could be as simple as missing safety equipment, or equipment that someone failed to inspect, or equipment that was known to be malfunctioning, but the owner of the ship refused to get it repaired prior to setting sail. This happens all too often on ships of all kinds. And if someone is hurt as the result of the ship not being seaworthy, the injured party could have a claim against the owners of the ship.

Who Can Be Sued for “Unseaworthiness”?

The owner or operator of the vessel is obligated to ensure its seaworthiness. If the employer and the owner/operator of the vessel are two different entities, it is the owner or operator who is responsible for the seaworthiness of the vessel.

As an example – if a ship pilot boards a vessel to guide it through the Mississippi River and the pilot is injured because the vessel is not seaworthy, the pilot would file their claim against the owner of the ship, not their own employer (generally speaking).

Does the Jones Act Also Cover Dock Workers, Longshoremen, and Shipyard Workers?

The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Because the Jones Act only covers specific persons who are injured on navigable waters and are classified as Seaman, it does not cover the legions of Longshoreman and dock workers who handle all the inbound freight coming off ships at port, dock workers, ship breakers, or some shipyard workers.

Because of this, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act Was Established. It provides for Longshoreman and Dock Workers what the Jones Act provides for Seaman (essentially).

When a dock worker or longshoreman is injured while working at a port, they can file claims against the company they work for if negligence was involved in the accident. If you’ve ever been near a port, you know how massive and heavy everything is. Serious injuries and death can occur at any moment from equipment failing, parts falling, equipment operators not paying attention, and more.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act Covers

The LHWCA covers employees in traditional maritime occupations such as longshore workers, ship repairers, shipbuilders or shipbreakers, and harbor construction workers.

The injuries must occur on the navigable waters of the United States or in the adjoining areas, including piers, docks, terminals, wharves, and those areas used in loading and unloading vessels. Non-maritime employees may also be covered if they perform their work on navigable water and their injuries occur there.


Jones Act Cases Result in Big Settlements and Judgement Awards

When employees are injured at sea, these injuries often result in a large settlement or judgment award for the plaintiffs. Multi-million dollar awards are not uncommon.

In some cases, awards have exceeded ten million dollars, as was the case when a $16.9 million dollar settlement was awarded for a worker who was working on a jacked-up rig in the Persian Gulf who became sick from drinking bad potable water while onboard the drilling rig.


Or when an offshore worker had a drill pipe fall and strike him in the head and his attorney was able to gain the worker a $14 million settlement for his injuries.


These settlements help injured plaintiffs move on with their lives, pay bills, and in some cases, live out their lives dealing with the injuries they sustained that will never fully heal.

Jones Act Cases are Great for Plaintiff Attorneys

As you can imagine, Jones Act settlements are great work for Plaintiff Lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis, and who typically receive 30% of any award they win for their clients. For lawyers who understand the Jones Act and know how to bring these cases and win big for their clients, it is an excellent source of revenue for the law firm.

Anywhere you have major shipping ports, a lot of offshore workers, or a fishing fleet, you can expect to find lawyers nearby who specialize in Jones Act Lawsuits. This is particularly true of the major cities that surround the Gulf Coast of the United States from Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans, Louisiana to Houston, Texas. In these cities, you will find lawyers who know the Jones Act inside and out, and who have brought many Jones Act Cases to court for injured clients.

And if you have been injured at sea, it is advisable to find:

#1: Attorneys who have achieved results for their clients bringing Jones Act Cases to court.

#2: Taking that case to court in a location where the Judges who preside over these cases are used to hearing arguments in Jones Act Cases. A good example of this would be the Western District Court in Lafayette, Louisiana where they are used to having Jones Act Cases in their courtroom because of the booming offshore oil industry surrounding them.

How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement in Jones Act Cases?

This is a difficult question to answer as there are many factors that influence a defendant’s willingness to settle a case, and how much they are willing to pay. Settling a Jones Act lawsuit depends a lot on the complexity of the case.

The process usually begins with filing a complaint in court, followed by the discovery and pre-trial motions, mediation, or arbitration, if necessary, and then proceeds to trial if a settlement is not reached prior to that point. Ultimately, it’s important to note that every case is different, but it would not be unreasonable to expect a Jones Act Lawsuit to take anywhere from one year to three years.

Several factors that can make a Jones Act lawsuit take longer to settle include:
  1. The severity of the injury: If your injury requires extensive medical treatment or ongoing rehabilitation, it may take longer to assess the full extent of your damages.
  2. The complexity of the case: If there are multiple parties involved in the lawsuit or there are disputes about fault or liability, it can take longer to reach a settlement.
  3. The amount of damages being sought: If the amount of money being claimed in the lawsuit is significant, it may take longer to negotiate a settlement or to proceed to trial.
  4. The availability of evidence: If there is a need to gather additional evidence or testimony, such as from expert witnesses or medical professionals, this can cause delays in the process.
  5. The willingness of the parties to settle: If the parties are unable to agree on a settlement, the case may have to go to trial, which can significantly lengthen the process.

So, you are probably starting to understand that a Jones Act lawsuit can be a lengthy and time consuming process to get through. But when you’ve been injured at sea, your whole life can change. Your ability to continue working may be affected. Your ability to return to work at all may be impacted. You might have medical bills. You may require years of physical therapy. You might need to be retrained in another field entirely. And in the worst cases, you may never be able to pursue meaningful work at all.

So, it is worth the time it takes to pursue outcomes that are favorable to you and your family. After all, everyone around you will most likely be impacted by your injury.

How Long Does It Take to Get Your Settlement Money from a Jones Act Settlement?

This is something else that a lot of people do not understand – once your case settles, or a judgment has been awarded, there isn’t someone waiting in the lobby outside the court room to write you a check. It can take months, years, or sometimes ten years to get your settlement money.

This can be an additional burden on you and your family and be extremely frustrating. After all, you may have been participating in your court battle for years to reach this point, and then you have to wait some more to get your money.

One way plaintiffs and Jones Act Plaintiff Attorneys can get some of their settlement money (or contingency fees respectively) faster is to take out a cash advance on lawsuit settlement through a legal finance company like Balanced Bridge Funding.

What is a Cash Advance on Lawsuit Settlement?

Let us explain how a cash advance on lawsuit settlements works.

Jones Act Lawsuits Getting Your Money Fast Infographic
  • Plaintiff has settlement in a case but will experience some delay before their award is distributed to them.
  • Plaintiff applies for a settlement advance with Balanced Bridge Funding.
  • Balanced Bridge examines the case. A determination is made on how much of the fee Balanced Bridge will purchase and how much will be advanced to the plaintiff
  • Balanced Bridge discusses the funding terms with the plaintiff and provides them with the agreement to review and sign.
  • Once that is completed, Balanced Bridge wires the advance directly to a bank account specified by the plaintiff

This process is often completed in a day or two but can take longer.

Once the fee is distributed, Balanced Bridge is sent its portion of the fee.

Is a Cash Advance on Jones Act Lawsuit a Loan?

A settlement advance is not a loan. When you receive a post settlement advance, the legal funding company does not loan you money. The money you are owed from a settlement is considered an asset (like a stock or bond). And just like any other asset you own (like a stock, bond, or your car or house); you can sell it to someone else for an agreed price.

Summary – Jones Act Lawsuits

The Jones Act provides protection and compensation for employees who work at sea and are classified as Seamen who are injured at sea. There are tens of thousands of individuals who work at sea on vessels of all kinds that range from Lift Boats to the tugboats that push barges up and down the Mississippi River twenty four hours per day.

The Jones Act provides very different (and agreeable) avenues for the injured person to get compensation directly from their employer as opposed to dealing with workers compensation.
And any time a person injured at sea is not provided adequate compensation and/or adequate restitution, Jones Act Lawsuits ensue.

For the Law firms who specialize in Jones Act Lawsuits, suing maritime employers is big business. These lawsuits often result in major settlements, which turn into serious contingency fees for the law firm.

Jones Act Lawsuits can take a long time to wind their way through the court system, and once the case concludes, or the defendant agrees to a settlement, there isn’t someone waiting in the lobby to write you a check. It can take months or even years before a plaintiff receives their settlement money, and in some cases, the court may allow the defendant to pay in installments (depending on the size of the settlement or judgement) rather than one lump sum.

One-way plaintiffs or their attorneys who are involved in Jones Act Lawsuits can get some of their settlement (or judgment) money faster, is to take out a cash advance on their lawsuit settlement with a company like Balanced Bridge Funding. Plaintiffs and their attorneys are both eligible to receive some of their settlement money (or contingency fees respectively) by selling part of it to a Legal Funding company that specializes in post-settlement funding. We will explain the details of how this works in the article that follows.

About Cash Advances on Jones Act Lawsuit Settlements

Post Settlement Funding is a Non-Recourse Transaction: We Accept All the Risk 

Post settlement funding (AKA Cash Advance on Jones Act Lawsuit Settlement) is a non-recourse transaction. This means you don’t need to worry about what might happen if the defendant suddenly can’t pay your settlement award — we accept all risk of non-payment, meaning that you will still get to keep the money from your settlement advance if the defendant goes bankrupt or is unable to pay for whatever reason.

Fast, Hassle Free Application 

In most cases, we can get your money in your hands in one week or less.

Our application is simple, straightforward, and easy to complete. Remember, this isn’t a loan, so there isn’t as much paperwork to go through. In most cases, we can approve your application and have your money deposited into your checking account in a matter of days.

If you think Post Settlement Funding could be the right fit for you, please call one of our Post Settlement Funding specialists at 267-457-4540.  

Or to apply online, simply CLICK HERE and fill out our quick application.

About The Authors

Balanced Bridge Funding offers legal funding solutions for plaintiffs, plaintiff attorneys, attorneys, and law firms. To talk to one of our legal funding specialists about post settlement funding for plaintiffs of post settlement funding for attorneys, please call 267-457-4540 or email

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