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The Jones Act protects seamen in cases of negligence

The Jones Act is an important federal law that protects seamen when they are filing lawsuits against their employers. The act governs both wrongful death and personal injury claims. It gives crew members and officers the right to sue their employers for negligence if it resulted in injuries or death while at sea.

Who is a seaman, by law?

In truth, the law has not settled on a definition. There is no rule that designates who is or isn't a seaman, so it is taken on a case-by-case basis. You typically must contribute to the function of the vessel in some way to be considered a seaman in any capacity. Longshoremen and dock workers are not seamen under law, because they are not working primarily onboard.

Do you need to be an employee of the vessel's owner to seek compensation?

Yes, so if you were an independent contractor, you would likely have to seek compensation through different means than through the Jones Act.

What is a vessel; is it only a ship?

No. In fact, even a submersible oil rig can be considered to be a vessel. A vessel must provide some kind of transportation on the water, so things like submarines, barges and other boats are also included in this definition.

Whenever you've been hurt at sea or have lost a loved one who was killed due to negligence, you're in a position to seek compensation through this act. Your attorney can be helpful during this time, as he or she will have a good understanding of the protections the Jones Act offers. Our website has more information.

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