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Important things to know about the Jones Act

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2022 | Maritime Law

The Jones Act, which is formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is an admiralty law that covers specific points about what happens when a person who’s classified as a seaman suffers an injury on the job. This act is very complex, so workers who are dealing with injuries are often confused about their rights and responsibilities. 

For those who are trying to figure out what they should do, getting answers to some basic questions might help. 

What’s covered by the Jones Act?

People who spend at least 30% of their time on a private vessel that’s under navigation are covered by the Jones Act. The time “under navigation” includes their time on a vessel that’s capable of moving, afloat, and operational. It must be on navigable water.

There are many different situations that are covered under the Jones Act. These include:

  • Equipment that’s not maintained
  • Crew or a captain that’s not sufficiently trained
  • Decks that are slippery without proper warning
  • Failure to have the right equipment to do a job

Employer negligence must be a factor in the case. This can be due to an unwillingness to correct obvious defects in the vessel or failing to provide proper training and equipment. Proving these factors can be a challenge, but being able to use similar cases might be beneficial.

The Jones Act provides valuable protection for seamen; however, the protections are only optimal if you know how to handle a claim based on them. There are many seemingly small points that can have a significant impact on the outcome of the claim. If you’re injured while working as a seaman, be sure you learn about your options quickly so you can determine what you should do next.