What Are My Rights Under the Jones Act?
Legal Rights & Remedies for Maritime Employees
The Jones Act refers to The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, a federal statute enacted to encourage and maintain the American merchant marine. The statute governs maritime commerce transported between U.S. ports. In addition to general regulations over the maritime commerce industry, the Jones Act affords several key provisions specifically targeting the maritime employee. The nature of maritime work is unique, as much of it takes place on water and involves far more dangerous equipment and responsibilities than any other type of work.
Therefore, the Jones Act gives qualifying seamen the ability to seek compensation after suffering an injury or developing an illness working on or aboard a vessel. Under the Jones Act, you can seek compensation for any injury that occurs as a result of negligence of the vessel owner, operator or other employee. This stems from the vessel owner's duty to maintain a safe vessel and the same goes for any equipment on board the ship.
In short, your rights as a seaman under the Jones Act include:
- The right to a reasonably safe work environment
- The right to make a legal claim if injured because of negligence
- The right to maintenance and cure compensation related to the injury or illness
- The right to additional compensation if the vessel or crew is deemed unseaworthy
- The right to additional punitive damages if an employer wrongfully refused payment of maintenance and cure
Seaman families have the right to bring a wrongful death action under the Jones Act if their loved one died as a result of a work related injury or illness. Learn more about your rights by contacting Arnold & Itkin LLP today.