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Jones Act: Maritime Attorneys

The Jones Act is a federal law/statute that was passed in 1920 to define the legal obligations of a Maritime employer and the applicable law for seamen working for a ship/vessel.  The law helps insure that injured seamen and crew members were provided for if they were injured or became ill during the course of their employment. A maritime or Jones Act attorney can handle your claim if you are a crew member injured on the job. Before 1920, seamen and crew members relied on Maritime Law to bring claims against their employers based on common laws that were adopted in ancient times, some of those ancient laws were incorporated into the U.S. legal system.


Who Can Sue

Thanks to the Jones Act, employers must provide crew members with a safe place to work and with prompt, proper and adequate medical treatment.  Failing to provide either may be negligent and entitle the crew member to recover damages. Thus, a crew member injured (as a result of negligence) while employed is entitled to compensation/damages for pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages, including attorneys’ fees and punitive damages (if the employer's conduct is deemed to be willful/capricious).  The negligence may be in failing to provide a safe workplace or in failing to provide prompt, proper and adequate medical treatment.

Potential Recovery

The two most common remedies available to injured or ill seamen or crew members today include maintenance and cure, in addition to transportation and unearned wages.

 Maintenance is money paid to the crew member by the employer while recovering from an injury or illness until maximum medical cure is reached.  Cure is money paid for medical treatment by the employer to the medical providers on behalf of the injured or ill crew member until maximum medical cure is reached. Unearned wages are those wages the employee did not earn because of injury or illness, which the employer pays up to the time of the end of the contract, unless otherwise stated in the contract with a particular employer.  Seamen and crew members are entitled to receive maintenance and cure regardless of fault or negligence.  A Jones Act attorney should be contacted if you an injured crew member who feels that you are being treated unfairly by your employer.

U.S. Maritime Law also provides damages for injuries or death caused by a ship/vessel that is unseaworthy meaning the ship/vessel was not “reasonably fit” for the intended use which caused or contributed to an injury.  The Jones Act Law is a very protective law and has the ability to hold your employer liable for any negligence on their part.  An Accident Attorney or Jones Act attorney can help you with the details of your claim.

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