Jones Act Attorney and Law Firm

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Jones Act

Are you looking for a Jones Act Lawyer? The Jones Act law firm of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A has extensive experience handling maritime injury cases.

Jones Act Law Firm

The Jones Act is a special federal law passed in part to protect workers at sea and it is codified in Title 46 of the United States Code. It provides a cause of action in negligence for any “seaman” injured in the course of his or her employment.

Under general maritime law prior to enactment of the Jones Act, seamen were allowed what was called “maintenance and cure” from their employers for injuries sustained in service of the vessel. They could collect damages from the owner of the vessel for “injuries received by seamen in consequence of the unseaworthiness of the ship,” but they were prohibited from recovering based on negligence of the ship’s master or crew.

The United States Congress enacted the Jones Act in 1920 to remove the bar to seamen trying to recover for negligence. It incorporates the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) which was a federal law passed to protect railroad workers.

Under the Act, a maritime worker can recover money if he was injured by reason of the employer's failure to provide a safe place to work. The accident does not necessarily need to occur on a vessel. For example, if the employer puts the seafarer into a hotel and an accident occurs because of the fault of the hotel, the injury may be compensable under the Jones Act.

Applicability of the Jones Act

The Jones Act does not define the term “seaman” and leaves it to the courts to determine which maritime workers are entitled to admiralty law’s special protections. The Jones Act does not apply to volunteer or unpaid crew members but it can apply to United States seafarers as well as foreign seafarers. When the base of operations of the employer or shipping company is in the United States, foreign seafarers can claim the protection of the Jones Act in many cases. Plaintiffs retaining a Jones Act law firm should consult with the firm’s maritime lawyers to determine the applicability of the law to their case

Injuries encompassed by the Act which are not work-related may arise by virtue of a seaman living aboard a vessel or coming and leaving the vessel. If the ship has a policy of allowing seamen to return to the ship in an inebriated condition, the owner may be liable for any injury the seaman incurs in doing so, even if the seaman was drunk at the time. Negligence on the part of the owner or master of a vessel has been determined to encompass:

  • failure to maintain safe equipment and appliances
  • care in selecting competent masters and crew
  • assaults committed by fellow seamen in the line of work
  • negligent orders
  • failure to avoid violent weather
  • failure to provide adequate medical treatment
  • negligent supervision or instruction, resulting in injury
  • failure to search and rescue

Damages under the Jones Act include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of support or consortium to the seamen’s family members
  • Loss of benefits
  • Funeral expenses
  • Mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement

The Jones Act requires that an action for damages be brought within three years of the injury or three years when a reasonable seaman could have been aware of the damages. Contact our Jones Act law firm today for a free consultation to review the facts of your case.

The Jones Act is one of the most protective laws in the United States and can hold the employer liable for even the slightest negligence. If you are in need of help, contact our Jones Act lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A.


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