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How does the Jones Act protect maritime workers?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2021 | Admiralty And Maritime Law

When you live in Tennessee and make your living as a maritime worker, you face a high risk of suffering a work-related, potentially career-ending injury. Unlike employees who work in construction or otherwise on land, maritime workers are not able to get workers’ compensation from their employers after a work accident. However, if you suffer an injury while working on the water, the Jones Act gives you an avenue through which to sue your employer and obtain compensation for your work injury.

Per PBS, the Jones Act, sometimes referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, holds maritime industry employers responsible for the injuries their crew members suffer while on the job.

Jones Act stipulations

Under the Jones Act, your maritime industry employer must compensate you for any on-the-job injuries you experience that result from your employer’s negligence. Furthermore, it protects you and other maritime workers against exploitation. It also mandates that your employer must maintain a safe work environment while on the water. The Jones Act also outlines guidelines your employer must follow when it comes to training you and supplying you with proper safety equipment.

Jones Act eligibility

For you to be able to receive compensation through your employer under the Jones Act, you must spend a specific amount of time working on a boat or at sea. You also have to be a “seaman” and someone who performs most of your work duties while on a boat or ship.

Your employer’s actions may constitute negligence if he or she failed to exercise ordinary care or provide a safe workspace and you suffered a maritime injury because of it.