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What does an injured worker have to prove under the Jones Act?

Louisiana workers who are eligible for workers' compensation benefits are not required to prove much above whether the accident occurred at work and in the performance of work duties. However, for seamen who fall under the Jones Act instead of workers' compensation, the situation is a bit more complex. Injured seamen do need to meet a certain burden of proof in order to receive compensation for their injuries.

Fortunately, the burden of proof for those filing claims under the Jones Act is not as high as in "regular" personal injury claims. In a personal injury claim, the injured party must prove to the court that the other party's negligence was a substantial cause, or a proximate cause in legal terminology, of the injuries suffered. That puts a significant burden on the plaintiff.

For injured workers filing claims under the Jones Act, that level of proof is not required. Instead, an individual only needs to show that his or her employer's negligence played some part in the injury. It does not have to be a primary cause and may even be only a small part of why the accident occurred and how the worker suffered injuries. The part could be as little as 1 percent.

Louisiana seamen wanting to file claims under the Jones Act may not need to prove that their employers caused their injuries, but they do need to be sure to document that their employers were negligent in some small way. Doing so may require a thorough investigation of the events surrounding the accident that led to the injuries. Once that element is established, the chances of receiving much needed compensation for the injuries suffered.

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