The Jones Act, formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is the federal legislation that protects American workers who are injured at sea. This allows employees who have been involved in an accident or become sick doing their job to receive compensation from their employers. An employee can pursue negligence claims when the injuries are a result from other employee’s carelessness or unsafe working conditions. There are certain criteria that must be met in order to pursue a case


Just because you work near water, doesn’t mean you are covered under The Jones Act. Federal Court states that a crew member must perform duties that is related to the vessel’s purpose and spend a significant time on board. They define this role as a “seaman.”


The is the most important aspect to having a case. The seaman must be able to prove that because of the negligent act a co-worker or employer took, they got injured. Depending on how severe the injury is will determine what type of compensation the seaman will receive.


After negligence has been proven, the seaman can be awarded damages, which fall under two categories.

  • Economic- This type of damage is awarded for lost wages and medical bills after the accident.
  • Non-Economic- This type of damage is award for pain and suffering.

Seeking legal action

The Jones Act can be very difficult to comprehend. From determining if your position qualifies under the act to understanding the legal terminology and laws that surround it. So it’s important if you or a loved one have been injured at sea, you contact a maritime attorney. An attorney can assist you with answering any legal questions you may have regarding The Jones Act and help you collect damages that you may be  entitled to after your accident.