Texas Jones Act Lawyer

January 25, 2012 @ 01:08 PM -- by

As a Texas Jones Act lawyer, I study the details of the Jones Act regularly. This maritime law is named after Senator Wesley Jones of Washington state, who was the author of the Act. Because of the Jones Act, injured seafarers have the legal right to obtain fair and just financial compensation for injuries they suffer because of the negligence of another or because the vessel was unseaworthy. The Act is titled the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, but it is now known as the Jones Act, after its author and sponsor.

The Jones Act was passed because of numerous concerns about the safety and health of the Merchant Marine, as well as to protect sailors. Before the Jones Act, seafarers who were hurt on the job had very few options for recovering damages or getting help and assistance. They were often injured and left alone in ports around the world, and were far away from home and loved ones. The Jones Act recognized the inherent dangers of working on the sea, as well as the value of trained and healthy seamen.

Several of the Jones Act clauses were precedent setting and went well beyond the usual protective clauses under international maritime law. There are two pieces of the Act which have had great historical importance. The first piece heavily promoted American made, owned, and crewed ships. This piece effectively restricted American shipping and passenger trade to United States owned or flagged ships. It also required that 3/4 of the ship's crewmembers must be American citizens. This part of the Act was helped create a strong Merchant Marine.

The second extremely important part of the Jones Act created important and far reaching benefits for seafarers. Any seafarer who is hurt at sea, regardless of fault, gets maintenance and cure. This means that the seafarer’s employer must give him a daily stipend (usually a small amount like $20-$40 a day) and provide medical care for the injuries. Moreover, seafarers may sue for money damages if their injuries were caused by the negligence of the ship's owners or any of the other crew members. Seafarers may also get money damages if the accident was caused by an unseaworthy vessel. These damages include death benefits, in the event that a sailor is killed on the job.

Generally speaking, a seafarer who spends at least thirty percent (30% )of his time in service of a vessel qualifies for Jones Act benefits. These vessels may include tankers, barges, trawlers, riverboats, tug boats, supply boats, water taxis, water ferries, shrimp boats, semisubmersible vessels, jack-up rigs, drill ships and some oil rigs. Workers who are injured or killed while being taken to an offshore oil rig may have protections under the Act.

The Jones Act and its benefits are extremely complex, so seafarers who are eligible for benefits and claims under the Jones Act should always get a lawyer who is familiar with the ins and outs of the Jones Act.

Contact Texas Jones Act attorney Scott Nelson if you need help with your Jones Act claim.