Why Seafarers Should Know About the Jones Act

Seamen, like all other workers, are entitled to compensation if they are hurt while on the job, regardless of whether or not there is a claim of negligence. Many sailors believe that if they are wounded on the job, they should petition for workers’ compensation. After all, isn’t it what all other workers do? The truth is that seafarers workers compensation is governed by a separate set of regulations from workers’ compensation regulations, which are actually more favorable to workers.

The Jones Act

The Jones Act, or Merchant Marine Act of 1920, establishes the legal rights of seamen injured while aboard a vessel operating in commercially navigable seas.

A seaman is defined as a person who spends more than 30% of their time on a qualified vessel, according to the statute.  Any ship or boat, large or little, operating in commercially navigable waters is referred to as a vessel.

Employers must provide sailors with reasonably safe working conditions and guarantee that the vessels they utilize are in safe working condition, according to the statute.

What It Provides

As a maritime worker, you have access to additional benefits not accessible to land workers under the Jones Act. While the act’s maintenance and cure provisions allow you to acquire benefits similar to workers’ compensation, you also have the right to pursue a separate claim against your employer for negligence if such negligence exists. This is a right that landworkers in the United States do not have.

Seamen would be wise to educate themselves on the Jones Act and its application to issues that need seafarers workers compensation.