The Jones Act
By definition, The Jones Act
is a federal statute enacted in 1920, allowing an injured seaman to sue
his employer or co-employees for negligence.
LCA states that the Jones Act was passed to promote a healthy U.S.-Flag
fleet and protect that fleet from unfair foreign competition. The JARC
thinks the law was enacted to "protect a Seattle-to-Alaska rail monopoly
from competition from Japanese and Canadian ships."
What Does The Jones Act Cover? Cases that involve:
? Drilling rigs
? Production platforms
? Crewboat and supply vessels
? Aircraft servicing oil and gas productions
? Tugs and towing vessels
? Injuries to crew members
? Cruise line crew members and passengers
? Private pleasure boats
? Unseaworthiness claims
? Fishing vessels
? Vessels could lose all domestic trading privileges limiting their commercial
? Penalties under federal law include substantial civil penalties, forfeiture
of vessels and even criminal penalties in certain circumstances.
The Jones Act permits injured seamen to seek compensation for injuries
resulting from the negligence of their employers or co-workers during
the course of their employment on a vessel. As any seaman knows, a ship
can be a very dangerous place to work. The Jones Act reflects that reality
of maritime work, and a seaman's employer may be liable for even a small
breach of duty which contributes to a seaman's injury. This is true, even
where a seaman performs dangerous work while aware of the high risks involved
in the work.
In addition to compensation for injuries caused by negligence, an injured
seaman may also make a claim against the vessel's owner on the basis that
the vessel was not seaworthy. An employer may also be liable for failing
to provide a seaman with adequate medical care.
Jones Act litigation seeks to recover damages for both past and future
economic and non-economic losses.
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