What does it mean to be covered by the Jones Act?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2021 | Maritime Law

Most workers in the United States are covered by workers’ compensation law. This means that if they become injured while engaging in work-related activities, they’ll be entitled to compensation in most cases. This compensation will cover all of the medical bills that they had to pay, as well as a portion of the wages lost.

Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not apply to workers who operate under maritime law. This means that mariners and other workers on commercial ships are unable to claim workers’ compensation if they are injured while engaging in a work-related activity. However, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, otherwise known as the Jones Act, is partly in place specifically to address some of these disparities. If you have been injured at work and you are covered by the Jones Act, the following is an overview of what you need to know.

You must show that negligence was at play

Unfortunately, the main disadvantage to the Jones Act for workers is the fact that it does not compensate employees for injuries that occurred due to their own errors of judgment. Therefore, in order to successfully make a claim under the Jones Act, you must be able to show that negligence was at play. Your employer has the duty to provide a reasonably safe work environment. Therefore, if you can show that your employer’s negligence led to your injury, you will be able to gain back damages.

You must file a claim in good time

You will need to take action in good time if you want to make a successful claim under the Jones Act. First, you will need to report the injury to your supervisor within seven days. You will then need to make an official statement and then consider filing a lawsuit.

Make sure that you understand your legal rights as an injured mariner by speaking to a legal expert and learning more about the Jones Act.