The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 was created for “the national defense and for the proper growth of its foreign and domestic commerce.” Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act is referred to as the “Jones Act” and in addition to outlining certain shipping laws, the Jones Act defines and creates rights for U.S. seaman who suffer serious personal injury or death while a crew member aboard a vessel. The Jones Act does not cover passengers on cruise ships or small pleasure vessels. Generally, vessels are broadly defined and includes tankers, fishing vessels, container ships, bulk ships, drill ships, barges, water taxis, and other types of watercraft.
Admiralty and maritime law provides special consideration for seaman and they are often referred to as “wards of the court.” It is undeniable that today’s seaman are subject to risks of injury and death that are unique such as medical emergencies when a vessel is hundreds of miles away from shore. The Jones Act and the subsequent cases interpreting its application provides avenues to recover compensation including, but not limited to, medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of future earnings capacity.
If you are a seaman and were injured aboard a vessel, then your claim is subject to the Jones Act’s statute of limitations. It is beneficial to seek medical attention immediately to avoid continued injury, and to have your case evaluated by a competent attorney. The Jones Act can be complex because initial questions on whether the injured person can be defined as a seaman, whether the injury took place on a vessel or near a vessel, and other important considerations. Ben Dowers has experience sailing aboard merchant vessels, oil drill ships, and military ships. Contact him today for a consultation on your case – email@example.com.