Law Offices of Nooney Roberts Hewett & Nowicki :


Numerous federal statutes control conduct on the high seas. The Jones Act is one of the most crucial statutes for marine personnel to comprehend. The Jones Act is one of the most well-known maritime statutes, and only maritime and Jones Act attorneys with extensive expertise fully comprehend its reach.

Under the Jones Act, maritime employees injured on the job are entitled to compensation for their injuries, and hiring an experienced attorney is the first step in obtaining the compensation you and your family deserve following a workplace injury. 

The Jones Act does not apply to all situations involving marine harm. In 1920, Congress adopted the Jones Act to establish the rights of seafarers to compensation for on-the-job injuries. The objective was to provide safety for sailors and their families.

The Jones Act, together with a claim for unseaworthiness, is an additional method for seafarers to sue their employers for damages in a jury trial if they are injured while working at sea since they are not eligible for standard workers' compensation for job-related injuries. The Jones Act contains references the Federal Employer's Liability Act, which permits railroad workers to sue their employers for damages. 

To succeed under the Jones Act, wounded sailors must demonstrate that they were harmed on the job and that their employer's carelessness caused the damage. For a seaman's Jones Act claim to be valid, he or his family must demonstrate the following: 

  • That the wounded or killed individual is a sailor 
  • That the wounded individual or deceased incurred a work-related injury 
  • That the employer of the sailor was negligent 
  • That the employer's carelessness contributed at least partially to the damage. 

Are You a Seaman? 

For the Jones Act to apply to your case, you must be a seaman as defined by the law, which means you must be working aboard a vessel and performing its duties. Your responsibilities must have contributed to the function or mission of the vessel or vessels to which you were assigned.

Next, you must pass the connection test, which requires that you have a connection to the vessel that is substantial. At least 30 percent of your employment must be tied to the ship's purpose or mission to qualify for seaman status. According to the Jones Act, crew members, officers, engineers, and fishers all qualify as seamen. 

What is Negligence? 

Negligence is the failure to take the degree of care that a reasonable person would in the same or comparable circumstances. A shipowner or employer owes an ongoing obligation to a seaman or fisherman engaged to undertake work onboard its vessel to provide a safe place to work and to maintain and keep the vessel in a reasonably safe state using ordinary care under the circumstances. In accordance with the legislation, a "safe place to work" is defined as a location where work may be conducted without exposure to unreasonable risk or harm if the worker exercises reasonable care for his own safety. Employers are liable for the conduct of their officers, agents, and workers. 


  • Dangerous conditions 
  • Lack of safe equipment and appliance maintenance 
  • Failure to notify of recognized dangers and hazardous situations 
  • Not providing a secure workplace (your employer has a non-delegable duty to provide one)  ▪ Lack of inspection of the vessel 

To recover from damages under the Jones Act, the injured sailor must demonstrate that his or her employer's carelessness had a role in causing his injuries, no matter how little. The sailor may obtain compensation under the Jones Act regardless of the employer's or shipowner's contribution to the damage. 

What Can Be Recovered 

Injured sailors are entitled to compensation for past and future lost income, past and future pain and suffering, and past and future medical expenses. If the damage causes the seaman's death, his family may file a wrongful death claim and a survival claim. The family can claim wrongful death damages for the seaman's loss of support, loss of services, loss of nurturing, loss of training and education, loss of inheritance, and any conscious agony and suffering he suffered before to his death. Under general maritime law, the employer is responsible under the doctrine of maintenance and cure, which means the employer must pay the injured seaman a stipend plus medical expenses while he or she recovers and until he or she reaches maximum medical improvement – or, in other words, until he is done with treatment. 

Why You Require a Lawyer 

The Jones Act is a formidable tool for wounded seamen seeking compensation for marine injuries sustained on the job. The Jones Act provides marine employees with a far higher possibility of recovery than workers' compensation ever could. However, the legislation is complicated, and you must establish several circumstances to recover under it. Also, the vessel owner, who is typically the employer or a related company, has the option to file a Petition for Limitation of Liability, which would allow the owner to limit your recovery to the value of the vessel at the time of the accident – even if the vessel is at the bottom of the ocean. 

The statute of limitations for a Jones Act claim is three years unless the plaintiff was harmed on a vessel owned by the United States or a state, in which case the notification period is 22 months, and the suit period is two years. If you file a claim for compensation after the statute of limitations has expired, your claim will be refused. If your employer files a Petition for Limitation of Liability, you have even less time to bring an action; if you do not, the court will restrict your recovery to the value of the boat, and you will be unable to collect more. 

After a maritime work accident, a wounded sailor should call the experienced attorneys at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki today. Call us at (904) 398-1992 or fill out a quick form to schedule a free initial consultation with our knowledgeable maritime attorneys!

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Jacksonville, FL 32207
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