The Jones Act-Overview

The Jones Act is a federal law designed to compensate seamen who are injured while working aboard vessels in navigable waters.

Remedies

Under the Jones Act, an injured seaman may be entitled to the following remedies:

(1) Maintenance and Cure Benefits -- a seaman may recover maintenance benefits (daily payments for his food and shelter) and cure benefits (compensation for his medical expenses), even if the seaman's injury was not caused by the negligence of his employer or the unseaworthiness of the vessel;

(2) Unearned Wages -- a seaman may recover the wages he would have earned if not for his injury, even if his injury was not caused by the negligence of his employer or the unseaworthiness of the vessel;

(3) Damages for Negligence -- a seaman may recover damages from his employer if the employer's negligence contributed to the seaman's injury; and

(4) Damages for Unseaworthiness -- a seaman may recover damages from the owner of the vessel if the vessel was unseaworthy at the time of the accident.

Statute of Limitations

Generally, the statute of limitations for a Jones Act claim is three years. In other words, an injured seaman must file a lawsuit under the Jones Act within three years of his injury. If an injured seaman does not file a lawsuit within the three-year period, no such lawsuit may be filed.