The Jones Act: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:46 by admin
Enacted in 1920, the Jones Act allows seamen to recover damages from an employer or coworker when negligence leads to injury or death. Only a seaman can recover damages under the Jones Act. To prove negligence, a seaman must show that the vessel's owner, operator, officer or a fellow employee did something unreasonable that led to injury or failed to perform a reasonable act that would have prevented an injury.

Under the Jones Act, an employer can be liable if there is a violation of a safety statute or for failing to provide adequate medical care to an employee. An employer must also make every "reasonable attempt" to rescue a seaman who jumps or falls overboard and conduct an adequate search for as long as it is feasible that he or she may still be alive.

Jones Act claims differ from ordinary negligence claims. Employers are subject to a higher duty of care. The amount of compensation an employee stands to receive will not change, regardless if a worker knew the risks of partaking in an activity that led to injury. Benefits are usually paid in the form of maintenance and cure. Maintenance is daily pay to laborers who are unable to work pursuant to a doctor's orders. Cure includes medical care, such as the cost of doctor and hospital bills and prescription drug payments.

Under the Jones Act, which extends the provisions of the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), a seaman may also file an unseaworthiness claim. A Jones Act claim must be filed in a Federal or state court within three years of the date of the injury. Regarding a seaman's death, the Jones Act covers most cases, except those filed under the Death on the High Seas Act.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed while employed as a seaman, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Maritime / Admiralty Personal Injury Law
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