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Jones Act – Defense Base Act Attorneys | Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A.
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Jones Act

Jones Act

Accidents can and do happen everyday through no fault of your own. However, what may at first seem to be minor injury can prove to be quite serious when on board a vessel at sea, miles from proper medical care. All mariners should be aware that there are laws in place to safeguard your interests if you are injured through negligence while aboard ship. The Jones Act is one such law. 

What is the Jones Act? 
Designed and written specifically for maritime protection against negligence, the Jones Act was originally passed by Congress in the 1920s with the latest revision being passed in 2006. This Act enhances and covers incidents that other maritime laws do not. “Negligence” is a broad term under this Act; meanings can range from injuries caused by poorly trained crew, insufficient crew members for the vessel size and mission, improperly secured cargo, unseaworthy, or any of a number of other reasons. An experienced attorney can help narrow and define the meaning in your case. 

Jones Act injuries – Who is covered? 
Any seaman from the captain down to the lowest worker who spends at least 30% of their time aboard an ‘in navigation’ vessel and whose duties contribute to the ship’s function or the accomplishment of assigned tasks is covered under the Jones Act. “In navigation” simply means a vessel that is floating and operable, whether it be at sea or in port. A vessel in dry dock does NOT qualify, nor does a vessel on a shake-down cruise that has not yet been signed over to its final owner. 

Jones Act compensation/benefits 
Unlike general Workers Compensation claims, the Jones Act provides many additional benefits to injured seamen. The most basic of these is ‘maintenance and cure’, meaning a daily living allowance is provided, along with medical expenses, until the injury is healed. Seaman may also receive punitive damages, compensation for lost or future wages, mental anguish, and physical pain. If the injury is the cause of death, the seaman’s family may file a claim under the Jones Act. 

The Process 
As with any lawsuit, the burden of proof rests with you, the plaintiff. Time is of the essence when filing a Jones Act claim – within 7 days of the injury is the timeline that must be followed. 
Any injury, regardless of how harmless it may seem, should be immediately reported and notated in the captain’s log. Accident reports, medical reports and records, medical bills, and any other relevant documentation of the accident should be provided. 
These suits are not filed in local jurisdictions, but rather in state or federal court, making it imperative that an experienced, maritime-law-knowledgeable attorney be retained to protect your rights. Be prepared – these suits are rarely settled quickly; yet another reason to have an attorney fighting for you.









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