WHAT IS THE JONES ACT?
The Jones Act is a federal law enacted in 1920. In part, this law allows those employed at sea to make claims and seek damages in cases of accidents caused by the negligence of their employer or another member of the crew.
Prior to Prior to the Jones Act, maritime employees were only entitled to claim “maintenance and cure” from their employers when they were injured as a result of a vessel that was deemed “unseaworthy” at the time of the injury. This meant that the injured party may be granted payment of daily living expenses and medical expenses for the duration of their but only when conditions on the vessel rendered it “unseaworthy.” This did not apply to instances where the actions of others resulted in the injury.
With the passing of this Act, maritime workers may now seek claims in cases where the negligence of the ship’s owner, the captain, or a crew member led to the injury. In these cases, the fault may be determined even if the incident occurred away from a vessel.
QUALIFYING AS A SEAMAN
The answer to this question is not straightforward. The Jones Act leaves it up to the courts to decide who qualifies as a “seaman” and who is entitled to special protection under the maritime law. Volunteers and unpaid members of the crew do not fall under the protection of the Jones Act. However, foreign sea workers can be protected under the law if the vessel of their employer is based in the United States. An attorney experienced in maritime law will be able to help determine if the Jones Act applies to you.
NEGLIGENCE OF THE MASTER OR OWNER OF THE VESSEL
- Failure to avoid violent weather
- Safe equipment maintenance failure
- Safe appliance maintenance failure
- Care in selecting skilled masters and crew
- Failure to provide adequate medical treatment
- Assaults committed by fellow seamen in the line of work
- Failure to conduct a search and rescue
- Negligent orders
- An injury as a result of negligent supervision
DAMAGES UNDER THE JONES ACT
- Loss of wages
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of support to the seamen’s family members
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
JONES ACT STATUE OF LIMITATIONS
A statute of limitations exists for submitting injury claims under the Jones Act. Once the deadline pass, future claims can never be made regarding the injury. Under the Jones Act, the injured party must submit claims within three years of the injury or within three years of when they became aware that negligence may have resulted in their injury.
SPEAK TO A MARITIME ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
If you or someone you know has been injured while employed on an ocean vessel, contact a maritime attorney at Madalon Law to discuss the details of course case and determine the best course of action.
The maritime accident attorneys of Madalon Law are based in Fort Lauderdale, FL and have convenient locations to handle cases throughout the State of Florida, as well as the State of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.