Jones Act

U.S. Code
TITLE 46, APPENDIX–SHIPPING
CHAPTER 18–MERCHANT SEAMEN
SUBCHAPTER VII–PROTECTION AND RELIEF

§ 688. Recovery for injury to or death of seaman

(a) Application of railway employee statutes; jurisdiction

Any seaman who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right of trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply; and in case of the death of any seaman as a result of any such personal injury the personal representative of such seaman may maintain an action for damages at law with the right of trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States conferring or regulating the right of action for death in the case of railway employees shall be applicable. Jurisdiction in such actions shall be under the court of the district in which the defendant employer resides or in which his principal office is located.

(b) Limitation for certain aliens; applicability in lieu of other remedy

(1) No action may be maintained under subsection (a) of this section or under any other maritime law of the United States for maintenance and cure or for damages for the injury or death of a person who was not a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States at the time of the incident giving rise to the action if the incident occurred–

(A) while that person was in the employ of an enterprise engaged in the exploration, development, or production of offshore mineral or energy resources–including but not limited to drilling, mapping, surveying, diving, pipelaying, maintaining, repairing, constructing, or transporting supplies, equipment or personnel, but not including transporting those resources by (a) 1 vessel constructed or adapted primarily to carry oil in bulk in the cargo spaces; and

1 So in original. Probably should be “a”.

(B) in the territorial waters or waters overlaying the continental shelf of a nation other than the United States, its territories, or possessions. As used in this paragraph, the term “continental shelf” has the meaning stated in article I of the 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf.

(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be applicable if the person bringing the action establishes that no remedy was available to that person–

(A) under the laws of the nation asserting jurisdiction over the area in which the incident occurred; or

(B) under the laws of the nation in which, at the time of the incident, the person for whose injury or death a remedy is sought maintained citizenship or residency.

(Mar. 4, 1915, ch. 153, § 20, 38 Stat. 1185; June 5, 1920, ch. 250, § 33, 41 Stat. 1007; Pub. L. 97-389, title V, § 503(a), Dec. 29, 1982, 96 Stat. 1955.)

REFERENCES IN TEXT

“Statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury, to railway employees” and “statutes of the United States conferring or regulating the right of action for death in the case of railway employees”, referred to in subsec. (a), probably mean acts June 11, 1906, ch. 3073, 34 Stat. 232; Apr. 22, 1908, ch. 149, 35 Stat. 65; Apr. 5, 1910, ch. 143, 36 Stat. 291; and Aug. 11, 1939, ch. 685, 53 Stat. 1404, popularly known as the Employers’ Liability Acts. Act Apr. 22, 1908, ch. 149, 35 Stat. 65, is classified generally to chapter 2 (§ 51 et seq.) of Title 45, Railroads. For complete classification of acts Apr. 22, 1908, Apr. 5, 1910, and Aug. 11, 1939 to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 51 of Title 45 and Tables.

The 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf, referred to in subsec. (b)(1)(B), was done at Geneva, April 29, 1958, and entered into force for the United States, June 10, 1964. See 15 UST 471; TIAS 5578.

AMENDMENTS

1982–Pub. L. 97-389 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).

1920–Act June 5, 1920, amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section read as follows: “In any suit to recover damages for any injury sustained on board vessel or in its service seamen having command shall not be held to be fellow-servants with those under their authority.”

EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1982 AMENDMENT

Section 503(b) of Pub. L. 97-389 provided that: “The amendment made by this section [amending this section] does not apply to any action arising out of an incident that occurred before the date of enactment of this section [Dec. 29, 1982].”

CROSS REFERENCES

Jurisdiction of district courts, see sections 1331 and 1332 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

Suits for recovery of damages for personal injury or death, or both, arising out of maritime tort, not maintainable unless commenced within three years from date on which cause of action accrued, see section 763a of this Appendix.

SECTION REFERRED TO IN OTHER SECTIONS

This section is referred to in title 33 section 903.