Understanding the Jones Act

Understanding the Jones Act

In 1920, a law to protect the United States merchant marines was passed. This Merchant Marine Act is also commonly known as the Jones Act. Over the years, alterations and additions have been made in the law with the most recent revision being in 2006. Below are several things you need to know about Jones Act.

What are the rights of a seaman under Jones Act? 

According to the rules of the Jones Act which have been mandated by the Congress, the law protects the seamen in cases of injuries, negligence, and unseaworthiness. A case example is when a seaman is injured in the sea, and the employer does not have medical cover. According to this law, he or she has the right to sue the employer. Moreover, the law provides that seamen are entitled to shelter, food and medical care for the number of months that the crew will be at sea.

In addition to the above, the seamen are also protected if the vessel they are in is considered unseaworthy. Maritime has set the conditions within which a vessel can be considered unseaworthy. In addition to the failure to operate well in the sea, a vessel can be considered unseaworthy if the seamen are not provided with the right safety tools or do not have the correct equipment to perform their duties. Also, other forms of employer carelessness and negligence can also make the vessel unseaworthy.

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What are the qualifications of failing a claim under the Jones Act?  

For your Orlando Jones Act lawyer to file a claim under the Jones Act, the plaintiff must be a seaman. The law qualifies one as a seaman if he or she spends at least 30 percent of their time working in or on a given vessel. Moreover, the said vessel must be in a condition whereby it can navigate in the waters at the time the accident or injury occurs. This means that it does not have to be moving at the time of the injury. It could have been tied at the dock but in an operational condition.

How is the claim processed?

You must get an Orlando Jones Act lawyer to file your claims within seven days after the injury. However, you are better off if you report the injury immediately. You are also supposed to talk to your Captain about the injury. The captain will then notate and file the accident report which is referred to as a ‘Report of Marine Accident.’ This report will form part of the claim process.

What is the possible compensation? 

There are several areas covered by the Jones Act under the Federal Employment Liability Act (FELA). The compensation may include the following:
•    Medical expenses
•    Lost wages
•    Physical disability
•    Medical expenses
•    Lost earning capacity
•    Fringe benefits which are reasonable


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