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Admiralty and maritime law: The Jones Act Q and A

Quite a few Louisiana residents spend their lives working out at sea. While the jobs can be good and the pay great, the laws that protect such employees are a little different than the laws that protect those who work on land. This week, this column will address a few admiralty and maritime law questions in regard to The Jones Act.

Question number one: What is The Jones Act? Also known as the Merchant Marine Act, passed in 1920, The Jones Act offers protections to injured mariners who do not qualify for regular workers' compensation protections. This means they have a way to seek compensation otherwise not offered them.

Question number two: Who is eligible for protections under The Jones Act? As previously stated, this is for injured mariners, such as those working on commercial vessels, military ships and oil rigs. For The Jones Act to apply, one must work on a vessel that is in navigation for a minimum of 30 percent of his or her working hours. In navigation just means that the vessel is in water and operational.

Question number three: How does The Jones Act work? If a qualifying mariner suffers an injury on the job, he or she may file a legal complaint against his or her employer in an effort to seek compensation for any resulting losses. The Jones Act hold employers liable if they failed to keep working conditions safe for their employees. In order to file a claim using The Jones Act, one must:

  • File a report with your employer within seven days of the injury.
  • Submit an official statement, including details about the injury and who caused the injury.
  • Get medical treatment.
  • Seek to settle your claim out of court or file a civil claim.

Louisiana residents who are unsure if their work injuries qualify for protections under The Jones Act can seek help with the matter. An experienced admiralty and maritime law attorney will be able to answer one's questions. If filing a claim or seeking an out-of-court settlement is deemed appropriate, one's attorney can see it through to the end.

Source: FindLaw, "The Jones Act and Merchant Marines", Accessed on Jan. 29, 2018

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