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The Jones Act: What is it, and how does it affect me?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2018 | Jones Act |

As someone who works in the maritime industry, you probably face hazardous conditions regularly. Maritime jobs are incredibly dangerous; as a result, workers sometimes experience workplace injuries.

When someone is injured on the job, they have the option to apply for workers’ compensation or file a lawsuit seeking damages. But this wasn’t always the case. A law called the Jones Act allows workers the right to seek compensation for their injuries. In this post, we will take a look at the basic principles of the Jones Act and what they mean for you.

What is the Jones Act?

In 1920, the American maritime industry was faltering. World War I had caused devastating economic damage. To strengthen the industry, Congress passed the Merchant Marine Act of 1920—also referred to as the Jones Act.

This act states that only American vessels may carry goods between American ports. It also created protections for workers. The law states that a seaman injured on the job has the right to seek compensation for his injury and other damages. It also stipulates that employers have an obligation to provide safe working conditions and comply with safety regulations.

What this means for seamen

This 100-year-old law has important implications today. If your employer’s negligence causes an injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Your employer may be liable for your damages—after all, they have a duty to protect their employees from on-site accidents. You may be able to obtain compensation for damages including medical treatment, hospital bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and emotional trauma.

To obtain the maximum compensation available and help their case go smoothly and quickly, many seamen choose to seek legal help. After all: The Jones Act was created to protect maritime workers, and you deserve to protect your rights.