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Jones Act Laws

Jones Act law is a special legal field—a rather complex and detailed aspect of maritime law with many provisions. In fact, Jones Act law is a set of federal laws designed to protect seamen, offshore workers, divers and other maritime employees—for example, those working aboard a:

  • commercial maritime vessel
  • cruise ships
  • crewboat
  • offshore tug
  • platform
  • rig or jack-up rig
  • ship
  • towboat

Serving on any of these types of vessels can be a risky endeavor. Thousands of maritime workers have incurred injuries caused by explosions, ship collisions, unseaworthy vessels, and the like. Jones Act laws provide injured seamen with:

  1. "maintenance"—weekly income
  2. "cure"—medical care
  3. "personal Injury damages"—compensation for past and future medical expenses, wage and fringe benefit loss, rehabilitation, retraining costs, occupational therapy, pain and suffering, impairment/disability, loss of quality of life and more

What Is Jones Act Law?

Jones Act laws were passed by the U.S. Congress as an effort to protect maritime workers when they are injured in the course of their work. The original part of Jones Act law was the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the first step toward providing safer working conditions for seafaring employees.

The Federal Jones Act

The Jones Act laws have been amended and strengthened several times since then, with the latest revision in October 2006, when President George W. Bush signed the newest Jones Act into law. The newest changes include an addition to the list of "seamen" eligible for Jones Act remedies: scientists working aboard oceanographic research vessels.

Indeed, the details of Jones Act law make it necessary for a person with a potential claim to meet several strict criteria, such as whether or not:

  • he or she is a "seaman" or maritime employee within the definition of the Jones Act
  • the vessel or site the individual was working at is a "Jones Act vessel"
  • the individual's employer is a "Jones Act employer"
  • the claimant's injury is the result of the employer's negligence or a co-worker's negligence

Learn More about Jones Act Law

If you feel that you may have a Jones Act claim, learn more when you contact a Jones Act attorney for a free consultation. To schedule a private, no-commitment consultation, contact us today.

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