Marine Employers Maritime Lawsuits. The Jones Act governs the liability of vessel operators & marine employers for the work-related injury or death of an employee. The Jones Act permits seamen who have been injured by the negligence of their employers or co-workers while working on the vessel to seek compensation for both past and future economic and non-economic losses. The Jones Act is a federal law meant to ensure that all seamen’s injuries throughout the nation would be guided by the same liability standards.While the Jones Act is intended to protect seamen it differs significantly from workers’ compensation laws. Unlike workers’ compensation, the Jones Act does not require payment regardless of fault. Injured seaman can only win recovery if they prove their injury was the result of negligence by the vessel’s owners, operators, officers, or co-workers fellow employees or by a defect in the vessel or its equipment. An employer may be held liable for failing to provide an injured worker adequate medical care. In addition to the employer, a seaman can file suit against a vessel’s owner claiming the vessel was unseaworthy.
Seaman Classification Under the Jones Act
- The Vessel on which the individual is serving must be in navigation
- There must be a relatively permanent connection between the individual and either a single vessel, or a group of vessels under common ownership
- The circumstances at the time of the incident should not be used as the sole determining factor for deciding whether or not someone is a seaman, instead their relationship with a vessel or group of vessels on which they work, and the total circumstances of their employment should be examined
- The injured seaman must have been aboard the vessel primarily to perform duties which contributed to function of vessel or accomplishment of mission