Jones Act – Maritime Lawyer

The Jones Act is a federal law that protects the rights of injured sailors, seamen, and many other types of occupations that take place on the water. It stipulates the responsibilities and liability of shipowners, marine employers, and crewmembers regarding the injury or death of an employee.

Even though it provides maritime workers with some forms of restitution should they suffer an injury in their profession, the Jones Act is not a form of workers compensation. In standard workers compensation claims a worker only needs to file a claim of injury to receive compensation. These payments are drawn from a common pool of funds and are usually a percentage of what the worker would normally receive. A Jones Act case requires that some fault, liability, negligence, or “unseaworthiness” directly contributed to the seaman’s injury or death. In some cases of shipwreck or loss at sea, proving liability can be a daunting task

Furthermore, a worker can only receive Jones Act protections if he or she qualifies under the Seaman Status test. A seaman must:

  • Be responsible for duties essential to the function or mission of the vessel
  • Have substantial link to a vessel in navigation in both duration and nature
  • Actually be connected to the vessel in question, and not a land based worker who happens to be injured while aboard
  • Seaman status is dictated by the relationship with the employee and the vessel, rather than where the injury is inflicted

Should a worker qualify under the Seaman Status test and become injured on a vessel regardless of the liability of the crew, owner, or vessel, the worker is entitled to “maintenance and cure.” This means he or she can receive compensation for a daily food and lodging allowance equivalent to what would be on board ship. The injured seaman can also receive medical care such as treatment, therapy, hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation until they can reach “maximum medical improvement” or is declared permanently disabled. It is the obligation of the vessel owner to pay the maintenance and cure throughout treatment.

The Jones Act is as complicated as it is important. Not every attorney can properly advise and manage a Jones Act case, which is why it is important to trust your case to a lawyer who understands the complex nuances of the law. Seamen status, medical treatment, and employer responsibility can turn a simple case into a major ordeal. Let a dedicated and experienced maritime law attorney represent you and guide you through the process today.Definitions

In order to receive compensation under the Jones Act, a maritime worker must qualify under the Seaman Status Test. The Seaman Status Test is a set of guidelines that determine who is a true maritime worker and who is merely a land-based worker onboard a ship. Under the Seaman Status test, a seaman is a worker who:

  • Is responsible for duties essential to the function or mission of the vessel
  • Has substantial link to a vessel in navigation in both duration and nature
  • Is actually connected to the vessel in question, and not a land based worker who happens to be injured while aboard
  • Seaman status is dictated by the relationship with the employee and the vessel, rather than where the injury is inflicted

It is important to remember that Jones Act lawsuits are not always the only or best option for injured maritime workers. If you or someone you love was injured while performing their occupation on the seas, you need to contact a maritime lawyer immediately. Experienced, qualified legal professionals are ready to guide you through this confusing time and help you get the justice you deserve.Statute of Limitations

Most Jones Act cases stipulate that injured seamen or their families must take action within three years from the date of the incident. Some exceptions to this rule include sea workers attached or assigned to a vessel owned, operated, or contracted by the government of the United States. Any legal proceedings regarding unseaworthiness must also be initiated within three years of the incident.

If you were injured in a maritime accident you must take action immediately. Although many statutes of limitations give you three years to bring your case to court, certain circumstances can reduce this period to less than a year.

Let a dedicated, understanding, and experienced maritime law attorney review your case and guide you through the complicated yet rewarding legal process. You may be able to take legal action against those responsible for your condition. Hurry, for the specific statute of limitations in your case may expire sooner than you think.

THE JONES ACT

TITLE 46. APPENDIX. SHIPPING
CHAPTER 18. MERCHANT SEAMEN
PROTECTION AND RELIEF
Statute: 46 USCS Appx � 688 (2002)

46 USCS � 688. Recovery for injury to or death of seaman

(a) Application of railway employee statutes; jurisdiction. Any seaman who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right of trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply; and in case of the death of any seaman as a result of any such personal injury the personal representative of such seaman may maintain an action for damages at law with the right of trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States conferring or regulating the right of action for death in the case of railway employees shall be applicable. Jurisdiction in such actions shall be under the court of the district in which the defendant employer resides or in which his principal office is located.

(b) Limitation for certain aliens; applicability in lieu of other remedy.

(1) No action may be maintained under subsection (a) or under any other maritime law of the United States for maintenance and cure or for damages for the injury or death of a person who was not a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States at the time of the incident giving rise to the action, if the incident occurred–

(A) while that person was in the employ of an enterprise engaged in the exploration, development, or production of offshore mineral or energy resources–including but not limited to drilling, mapping, surveying, diving, pipelaying, maintaining, repairing, constructing, or transporting supplies, equipment or personnel, but not including transporting those resources by a vessel constructed or adapted primarily to carry oil in bulk in the cargo spaces; and

(B) in the territorial waters or waters overlaying the continental shelf of a nation other than the United States, its territories, or possessions. As used in this paragraph, the term “continental shelf” has the meaning stated in Article I of the 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf.

(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be applicable if the person bringing the action establishes that no remedy was available to that person–

(A) under the laws of the nation asserting jurisdiction over the area in which the incident occurred; or

(B) under the laws of the nation in which, at the time of the incident, the person for whose injury or death a remedy is sought maintained citizenship or residency