The Maritime Jones Act Explained
America’s waters have served as an important tool in the growth of its economy. Over the years, the vast network of rivers, lakes, and canals of the United States has proven to be an important channel for transporting natural resources, food, and finished goods from various states and into the market. But while one cannot discount the importance of the seas and oceans in advancing commerce, it is also undeniable that these bodies of water also pose a huge threat to those working in the maritime industry.
While the maritime sector have taken the necessary measures to ensure the safety of its workers aboard sea vessels, workers still find themselves at risk of getting injured in their workplace. Worse, a Jones Act lawsuit attorney will tell you that injured seafarers do not have access to the emergency medical care they need until they return to the shore or are rescued. To provide maritime workers with the protection they need while working, the US Congress passed the Jones Act as part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 sponsored by Senator Wesley Jones.
Seamen and other maritime workers can use The Jones Act as grounds for suing their employers for negligence which caused them to get injured or worse die. The Act requires ship owners to ensure the safety of their crew by providing them with a reasonably safe place to work. In addition, the Jones Act also requires employers to use ordinary care under the circumstances to maintain and keep their vessel safe.
For maritime workers to recover damages from maritime injuries, they should prove that the owner, captain, or crew of the vessel showed negligence and it was that negligent behavior that caused their injury. Unlike standard negligence cases, however, maritime injuries have a lower burden of proof. The Jones Act calls for the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause for their injury. Under the Jones Act, the plaintiff might be able to recover lost wages, medical expenses, pain, suffering, and mental anguish.