What is the Jones Act?
Maritime workers face a number of different potential hazards every day they are on the job – often many more dangers than most other workers in the U.S. Consequently, the Jones Act has been instituted to offer specific protections for maritime workers, or seamen.
The Jones Act, also referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is an extension of FELA for railroad employees, and it essentially has formalized the rights of certain maritime workers, protecting them in the event they are injured on the job.
Among the protections and stipulations of the Jones Act are that maritime workers who are injured while working have the right to:
- Bring claims against their employers when their injuries have been caused by the negligence of ship owners, ship captains and/or other seamen – These claims can be based on allegations of negligence and/or the unseaworthiness of a vessel.
- Have these claims decided in a jury trial in either state or federal courts (i.e., wherever they choose to file the Jones Act claims)
- Obtain compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, impacts to their future earning capacity, disfigurement, mental suffering, etc.
Who is Covered: Seamen as Defined by the Jones Act
In order to qualify as a seaman per the terms of the Jones Act, a maritime worker has to:
- Be officially assigned to a vessel or a fleet of vessels that operate on a navigable waterway
- Perform duties that promote the function or mission of the vessel
- Spend 30 percent or more of his time in service to the vessel.
Specifically, the maritime workers that are typically covered by the Jones Act include (but are not limited to):
- Offshore workers
- Crews that work on tankers and freighters
- Barge, rig and platform workers
Maritime Injuries Covered by the Jones Act
Some of the specific types of maritime injuries that seamen can obtain compensation for under the terms of the Jones Act include (but are not limited to):
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck, back and/or spinal cord injuries
- Loss of a limb or crushed limbs
- Scarring and disfigurement injuries
- Burns and lacerations
- Bone fractures
- Muscle and joint injuries.
It’s important to point out that there is generally a 3-year statute of limitations for filing Jones Act claims. Effectively, this means that injured maritime workers have 3 years from the date of their injury to file their claims. If they wait and try to file a Jones Act claim after 3 years have passed, they will typically lose their rights to obtain compensation for their maritime injuries under the Jones Act.
Portland Maritime Injuries and Jones Act Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm
Since 1977, the Portland maritime injuries and Jones Act attorneys at the Savage Law Firm have been dedicated to defending the rights of injured seamen and to providing them with the highest quality legal services.
We realize how devastating maritime injuries can be, and our lawyers are here to aggressively advocate injured seamen’s rights to both justice and compensation. While this means that our Portland maritime injuries and Jones Act lawyers will work diligently to help our clients tell their stories in court, it also means that our attorneys and dedicated staff will vigorously stand up to insurers and others outside of the courtroom to ensure that our clients are able to obtain the settlements they deserve.
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation
You can learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you by calling us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page. We represent clients in Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.