Legal Benefits Under the Jones Act for Injured Maritime Workers


Injuries to crew members and maritime merchants were so prevalent at the beginning of the 20th century that Congress established the Jones Act, officially titled the Marine Merchant Act of 1920. Although originally sought to protect Marine merchants, the Jones Act now generally covers a broad spectrum of people who are employed or assist in ships and other vessels, which operate in oceans, offshore lakes, rivers, or canals.

The Jones Act requires ship owners to provide safe and well-maintained vessels for their employees. Each part of the vessel must remain in a position to navigate, which means that the vessel is not defective and in good working order.

The types of professionals likely to be covered by the Jones Act include:

– Marine merchants

– Port workers

– Sailors

– Ship officers

– Barge workers

– Tug Workers

– Chefs

– Technicians

– Pilots

– Offshore workers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies most of these workers in marine transport occupations. This is considered one of the most dangerous job categories, along with commercial fishing and working on oil rigs and platforms, which also involves sea travel.

Weather hazards while out in the water add danger to what are often physically demanding jobs. In 2021, four out of every 100 workers in the water transport industry were injured. Since maritime workers can be classified into various types of jobs, it is difficult to obtain a true number of injuries and deaths related to those who work onboard or with boats, but what is clear is that many workers in this field could use help from a maritime lawyer.

Unique Aspects of the Injury Law that Apply to Seamen

Maritime accident cases are different from common workers’ compensation claims because injuries at sea do not necessarily fall under the jurisdiction of the laws of any state. Instead, some federal laws apply to maritime injuries, including compensation laws for injured shoreline workers and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).

This entitles maritime workers to different benefits after a work injury, depending on the circumstances. But these maritime laws can be complex and your ability to obtain compensation depends on many factors, such as your position and the circumstances of the accident.

In order to work with a Jones Act attorney to recover damages related to a shipowner or an operator’s injury, a crew member must establish that his injury was, at least in part, the fault of the maritime employer. In other words, the employee must demonstrate that a defect in the ship or boat caused or contributed to the injury.

Unlike other traders injured in the course of their employment and covered under workers’ compensation, the only remedy for an injured sailor is to pursue a lawsuit under the Jones Act.

Once liability has been established against an employer, an injured sailor is entitled to temporary benefits known as “Maintenance and Cure”. Maintenance is a stipend paid to workers who are removed from work by a doctor because of their injuries. Cure refers to compensation for medical expenses, hospitals, and prescription drugs. Our Jones Act attorneys are experienced and can help you get more information.

In addition to distinguishing Jones Act’s benefits from those normally provided under workers’ compensation, an injured seaman may be entitled to significant damages for lost wages, disability, fringe benefits, and pain and suffering. It is important that workers have a Jones Act attorney who understands the law and their legal rights so they can fight to obtain financial damages for their injuries.

Hire Lawyers Who Understand the Jones Act

A maritime injury lawyer from our firm can help injured seaman determine what rights they may have and advise if a possible claim can be filed against an employer. If you were injured on a boat or dock or lost a loved one in a marine accident, contact one of our maritime accident attorneys.

When it comes to protecting injured workers on waterways and applying the provisions of the Jones Act, PMR Law is determined to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. At no cost to you, our firm will investigate and process your case according to the most advantageous legal position for your situation. We invite you to contact a Jones Act attorney today to discuss your case and the legal options for financial recovery through the Jones Act.

We welcome the opportunity to review your potential case under the Jones Act. Call PMR Law at 832-844-6428 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a maritime injury lawyer who will tirelessly fight for your legal rights.

PMR Law is considered one of the Best Law Firms in America, by Rue Ratings. Several of our attorneys have been given the honor of being named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named our attorneys 10 Best in Client Satisfaction. Speaking of personal injury, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded our attorneys with Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney distinctions. The National Trial Lawyers have named three of our attorneys as Top 100 attorneys. The Academy of Attorneys has named two of our attorneys as Top 40 Under 40. Our attorneys have been recognized as Best Attorneys of America, by Rue Ratings. PMR Law is a proud member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum. Houstonia Magazine has named two of our attorneys as Top Lawyers in Personal Injury.

Texas Lawyer magazine has named PMR Law as the #1 Personal Injury Law Firm in Houston.