Jones Act Lawyers

The Jones Act: A Century of Protecting Maritime Workers

Why You Need to Hire a Lawyer Who Knows Maritime Law
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Offshore work demands a certain kind of bravery. Crew members on vessels often engage in perilous tasks, facing the constant risk of severe injuries while at sea. These injuries have the potential to disrupt and irrevocably alter their way of life. To safeguard these maritime workers, a critical piece of legislation exists: the Jones Act. The Jones Act provides essential legal protections specifically tailored for those who brave the challenges of offshore work, ensuring their rights and well-being.

What Is the Jones Act? Understanding the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

Enacted in 1920, the Merchant Marine Act, known as the Jones Act, is a pivotal federal statute that safeguards the United States' maritime commerce in domestic waters and trade between U.S. ports. With the maritime industry encompassing a vast workforce on barges, container ships, tugboats, and more, the Jones Act is crucial in protecting these vital operations and the individuals who power them.

A key provision of the Jones Act is its focus on seamen's welfare. 

The Jones Act empowers seamen to seek legal recourse against employers for injuries resulting from negligence, thereby mandating employers to maintain reasonably safe working conditions. This aspect of the Act remains a cornerstone in today’s maritime industry, emphasizing the safety and rights of maritime workers.

Under the Jones Act, seamen have legal rights that protect their health and livelihood. In cases of injury or death due to negligence by a crew member or shipowner, the Act allows seamen, their spouses, or dependents to pursue litigation. This legal pathway is vital for workers seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, ensuring they have the necessary resources for recovery.

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    Record-Breaking Verdict for Widow
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    Settlement for Workers Burned in Industrial Incident
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    One of the Largest Confidential Settlements in History
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The Jones Act

Fighting for Fair Compensation as an Injured Worker

What Is a Jones Act Seaman?

Just because you were injured offshore does not mean the Jones Act protects you. 

To be considered a Jones Act seaman, specific criteria must be fulfilled:

  • Nature of the Vessel: Your employment must be on a vessel operating in navigable waters. The definition of a 'vessel' under the Jones Act is broad, encompassing boats, ships, barges, and certain types of offshore drilling platforms. However, it's crucial to note that not all offshore platforms qualify.
  • Contribution to Vessel’s Mission: Your work should significantly contribute to the vessel's function. Your role must be integral to the vessel's operation.
  • Time Spent Onboard: A key factor is your time working on the vessel. While one federal court has set a benchmark of spending at least 30% of your work time on the vessel, this figure is not absolute. It serves more as a general guideline.

What Is a Jones Act Vessel?

The definition of a "Jones Act vessel" may seem simple, but it has been controversial.

Traditionally, the term 'vessel' has been associated with the following: 

However, the ever-evolving maritime industry has broadened this definition to encompass special-purpose entities such as jack-up rigs, semi-submersible rigs, mobile offshore drilling units, dredges, and even pontoon rafts.

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Hear Our Clients’ Stories

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    “Just knowing they were going to do everything they could to make sure they find out the truth, to make sure we were taken care of for life. Just seeing that they actually cared and wanted the best for the families. They didn’t just think you were a number. They actually care.
    Tinisha Thomas El Faro Widow
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    “They’re unstoppable! They definitely have the experience you need. They're fighting for little people that can’t handle themselves when a giant comes. Almost like David and Goliath. It’s an amazing thing to see.”
    Shawn Thomas Workplace Explosion Victim
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    “I told him, “Kurt you’re my hero. You’re my knight in shining armor.” Because that’s how I feel toward him. He’s there to protect me, and I feel so safe. They are driven. They are aggressive. They will not quit for you. They will not give up for you. That’s what makes them special.”
    Mildred Solar Cortes El Faro Widow

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