Jones Act – Workers Comp Concern
The Jones Act, or Merchant Marine Act of 1920, was passed due to concerns about the legal protection of the Merchant Marine. Prior to the Jones Act, sailors who were injured on the job had few options for receiving damages. Now, injured seamen can seek compensation for injuries resulting from the negligence of their employers or co-workers during their employment on a vessel.
These benefits are known as “maintenance and cure” and any sailor who is injured at sea is entitled to them. “Maintenance” is a daily allowance paid to the injured party, usually $10-$40 a day. This is intended to cover food and shelter the seaman would have received aboard the vessel. “Cure” is the employer’s obligation to provide the injured party with appropriate medical care, hospitalization and rehabilitation. Sailors can also sue for damages if their injuries were caused by negligence on the part of the ship’s owner. Death benefits will also be awarded if a sailor is killed on the job.
Anyone who spends at least 30% of his or her time on a Merchant Marine vessel can qualify for the Jones Act, including the Captain.
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