In the most recent instance of the Jones Act in the news, a NYPD counter-terrorism detective has filed a claim under the Act, claiming injuries that occurred during a rescue. The $106 million lawsuit alleged the city failed to provide him with safe tools, equipment, and a “competent” crew of fellow officers.
Under the Jones Act, the employer/employee relationship is spelled out to allow for recovery from personal injury claims due to the employer’s negligence. The employee must also meet the requirement of spending at least 30% of his time in the service of said vessel or fleet of vessels on navigable waters.
Here, the NYPD officer’s claims arise from the rescue of a capsized boat on the East river. The officer was injured while pulling those in the capsized boat to safety. As a member of the NYPD Harbor Unit, the officer will likely satisfy the requirement that he spend at least 30% of his time in the service of the fleet, even if it is not on a specific vessel.
The damages can accumulate quickly and are often negotiated for when settling a case like the one mentioned above. Permitted damages include: medical expense, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of support to dependents or widow, loss of value of household services, and funeral services to name a few. The suit alleges severe physical pain and mental anguish, including back and neck pain for which he seeks to recover.