The Jones act was a legislation of the United States also known as the Merchant Marine Act passed in 1920, named after its sponsor, Senator Wesley Jones. The act was passed due to the concerns about the health of the Merchant Marine, and to create protections for sailors. Before the Jones Act was passed, sailors who were injured on the job had little options for recovering damages or even getting any sorts of assistance.

Upon realizing this intrinsic danger of working at sea and the values of the trained seamen, the Jones Act established a system of benefits for sailors. The Jones Act supports the American Merchant Marine while providing additional protections for sailor’s and ship’s crew. Some clauses in the Jones Act set a standard, as it went above and beyond similar protective clauses under international maritime law. The Jones Act and the benefits it provides are very complicated and Mariners who are eligible for claims under the Jones Act should always consult an attorney who is familiar with the Jones Act for assistance and guidance.


Cure & Medical Care

The employer is required to pay for reasonable medical care related to all medical conditions which are apparent while you are in service to the vessel until the time you have reached maximum medical cure.


Seamen who are injured are entitled to receive “maintenance” during the time that you are under medical care. The amount you receive is usually between $15-30 dollars per a day. The employer must pay the cost for you to live on land in the same way you live offshore on the vessel.

The Jones Act Settlement / Lawsuit

In order to preserve a Jones Act claim or lawsuit, you have to prove responsibility of the employer. Additionally to maintenance and cure, your employer may owe you damages for any loss resulted from your injuries. To recover, you must prove fault on the employer or unseaworthiness of the vessel. If you can prove liability, you are allowed to recover any damaged intended to make you whole under the law.

The Jones Act damages include the seaman’s right to recover past and future loss wages or economic damages due to:

  • Pain & Suffering
  • Mental Distress
  • Disfigurement or Deformity
  • Medical Expenses