What Do You Know About Jones Act?

July 28, 2021
What Do You Know About Jones Act?

Jones Act

The Jones Act is a federal law that, among other things, allows a seaman to sue his employer for personal injury damages if he is harmed while on the job. To recover money from his employer, the seaman must prove that the owner and/or crew of the vessel on which he worked were negligent and that their negligence caused the seaman's injury. An injured seaman cannot sue his or her employer for workers' compensation. Under state or federal law, seamen are not entitled to workers' compensation. Continue reading to learn how the Jones Act affects claims.


Who Is Considered a Sailor Under the Jones Act?

Under the Jones Act, a sailor must have work duties that include the operation of the vessel or be essential to the mission or purpose of the vessel, as well as have a significant connection to a vessel or multiple vessels in a fleet while it is in navigation.

One fact-specific area is how "significant" a connection a seaman has to the vessel in question. He is unlikely to be considered a sailor if he only works on a vessel one day per year. However, if the individual spends one-third of his working hours on a vessel, he is likely to be considered a seaman under the Jones Act.


What Sort of Negligence Can The Sailor File Against The Employer?

Under the Jones Act, the employer is accountable for the carelessness of any of the employer's officers, agents, or employees. The Jones Act compels a seaman's employer to:


  • providing a fairly safe working environment for the sailor
  • maintain and repair the vessel on which the sailor works in a suitably safe condition using reasonable care under the circumstances


The Jones Act is an employ-friendly statute. It puts a heavy burden on the employer of a sailor to guarantee that the seaman's vessel is reasonably safe. Under the Jones Act, an employer can be held accountable for a variety of harmful circumstances on a vessel, including:


  • equipment breakage due to grease or oil on the deck inadequately maintained equipment
  • the failure of the employer to supply the crew members with the necessary equipment to perform their duties
  • a seaman's or a crew's lack of training in general
  • labor practices that are hazardous
  • the seaman's coworkers' negligence
  • a coworker's assault


Is There a Time Limit on Filing a Jones Act Claim?

It is generally a good idea to consider filing a Jones Act claim as soon as possible because there is a statute of limitations that can bar suits filed more than 3 years after the date of the injury and witnesses may forget key facts as time passes, making it more difficult to introduce a successful case.

Employees who have been injured should keep their medical records and days taken off work due to the injury in case they need to file a claim.

Injured seafarers can sue under the Jones Act in federal or state court. Generally, the claim should be filed in the jurisdiction where the defendant works or has his or her headquarters.


If you still got questions about the Jones Act, contact the Best Lawyer in New Haven, CT.


All people are equal before the law. A good attorney.