The Jones Act, also known by its official title as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, was a significant piece of maritime legislation passed in the United States in 1920. The Jones Act, sponsored at the time by Senator Wesley Jones, was passed in response to concerns about the health and well-being of Merchant Marines, and established certain protections for sailors. Before this legislation was passed, sailors who were injured on the job had few options for receiving assistance and recovering damages. Now, any individual who spends at least 30% of their time in active service on a Merchant Marine vessel can qualify for benefits under the Jones Act.
As a portion of the Jones Act established a system of benefits for sailors (the other noteworthy section promoted American built, owned, and staffed ships), it deems that any sailor who is injured at sea is entitled to “maintenance and cure.” This means that the sailor’s employer is required to pay the injured person a daily stipend and provide medical care to treat them. Also, a sailor who is injured on the job can sue for damages under the Jones Act if their injuries were caused by negligence on the part of the boat’s crew members or owners of the ship, or if the actual sea vessel was not seaworthy.
The Jones Act and the benefits it provides for injured sailors are very complex, so hiring a skilled attorney can certainly help you navigate the difficult legal waters. The Illinois maritime law attorneys of the Bradley Law Firm can help you receive the benefits and compensation you deserve if you have been injured on the job due to the negligence of another party. Please call (312) 252-1488 for a no-cost consultation.