Jones Act Claims

Typically, if you are injured in the course of your employment, you will be barred from making a legal claim against your employer for its negligence causing your injury. This is generally covered by state workers compensation statutes.

However, if you are employed as a seaman and you are hurt in the course of your employment, you may be entitled to make a claim under the Jones Act [also known as the Merchant Marine Action of 1920].This federal statute provides protection and a mechanism for injured seamen. It permits claims on the principle that a ship owner has an absolute and non-delegable duty to furnish a seaworthy ship and safe equipment to employed seamen. If injured, a seaman can make claims and collect from their employers for the negligence of the ship owner. Vessel owners have a duty to use reasonable care to maintain a reasonably safe place to work. Areas of protection include egress and access to a vessel; decks; slippery conditions such as grease and oil; docks and piers; engines and machinery; gangplanks and hatches. Seamen may also be entitled to “maintenance and cure” providing medical care and treatment.

There are time limits with all legal claims and here, the Jones Act claims carry a three year statute of limitations.

Here’s a link to further general information on Jones Act claims published by the Ohio State Bar Association:

https://www.ohiobar.org/ForPublic/Resources/LawYouCanUse/Pages/LawYouCanUse-690.aspx

If you are a seaman and injured in the course of your employment, you should consult with an attorney to see if the law applies to your specific injury and circumstances and to further be informed of your legal rights.