The Jones Act, which is also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that regulates maritime commerce. Although most of the Act deals with rules about transporting cargo on U.S. ships that are built in the U.S and employ U.S. citizens, the Act also allows injured sailors to receive damages from their employers in the event of negligence by crew members, the ship’s owner or the captain.
Specifically, the Jones Act says that the laws that were in place that allowed railroad workers to recover for injuries would also allow sailors to recover. The United States Supreme Court clarified the Act by finding that in order to be considered eligible for recovery as a sailor under the Act, a worker has to spend 30 percent or more of his time working on a vessel in navigable waters. The sailor can sue in state or federal court, and is allowed to have a jury trial.
In order to recover under the Jones Act, a sailor must also be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident alien. The sailor also cannot be an employee of an oil company. However, the oil company employee can recover if injured while transporting some resources or while on a vessel that is designed for carrying oil in bulk.
If you have been injured while serving as a sailor and you think you may be eligible for recovery under the Jones Act, contact the Jones Act attorneys at Page Law. In addition, the families of those sailors who are killed while working on a ship may be able to recover damages under the Jones Act. Call us today for a free consultation at 314-322-8515.