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The Jones Act: Frequently asked questions

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | Maritime Law

In each area of law, there are landmark pieces of legislation and judicial rulings that heavily influence that part of the American experience. When considering maritime law, arguably the most consequential legislation that impacts this area of industry and commerce is the Jones Act

The Jones Act primarily concerns the domestic maritime shipment of cargo aboard vessels that have been registered in the U.S., are owned by U.S. citizens and were built in the U.S. Yet, this law does not only address shipping concerns. It also allows qualifying injured seaman to file lawsuits against their employers in the event of work-related harm caused by a particular employer’s negligence. 

What are maintenance and cure benefits?

These benefits function much like workers’ compensation benefits do. Essentially, if you have been harmed due to an accident at work and you are eligible for protections under the Jones Act, you’re entitled to maintenance and cure benefits. This form of compensation will cover medical expenses related to your harm and some basic living expenses until you’ve been medically cleared to return to your job. These benefits aren’t fault-based, so you can claim them even if you unintentionally caused your injurious circumstances. 

Is any other form of compensation available?

Maritime workers may be entitled to additional benefits if their injuries resulted from another’s negligence or from the unseaworthiness of a vessel. “Unseaworthiness” is generally characterized by a vessel’s unsafe working conditions. 

Can surviving loved ones submit a Jones Act claim?

If a maritime worker loses their life due to negligence or the unseaworthiness of a vessel, closely related surviving loved ones are generally empowered to seek compensation due to the loss they have suffered.  

By understanding your rights under the Jones Act, you’ll be in a stronger position to understand both when those rights are being violated and when you may need to take action to exercise your right to recourse. When it comes to being a worker in a specialized industry, knowledge is power.