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The Jones Act 46 U.S.C.S. § App. 688 (2002)

Admiralty and maritime laws are very complex. They were written to protect people who work on a ship, an oilrig, or a sea-going vessel; however, maritime law is not workers compensation law. One must prove that the owner/operator of the ship was negligent, and therefore at fault for your injury. This is why it’s so important to contact an admiralty law attorney. The admiralty law attorneys at Midani & Cole are experienced in maritime and admiralty law. We’re here to help you. 

We’ve provided a short synopsis of the Jones Act below. If you think that you may have a case covered under the Jones Act, call our firm today at 1-800-JONES ACT (800-566-3722). An admiralty and maritime law attorney will talk to you about your case at no cost to you. Confidentially. 

Offshore Injury

According to 46 U.S.C.S. 10101(3), a seaman is an individual (except scientific personnel, a sailing school instructor, or a sailing school student) engaged or employed in any capacity on board a vessel.

Because Jones Act causes of action are governed by the Federal Employees Liability Act, the statute of limitations for a maritime injury suit is three years from the date of the incident. 45 U.S.C.S. 56 (2002).

In determining when claims accrue for the purpose of statute of limitations of Jones Act, the court applies either the “time of event” rule, under which a cause of action accrues when harmful event occurs, or “discovery rule,” under which cause of action accrues when plaintiff discovers or should have discovered both injury and its cause. Armstrong v. Trico Marine, Inc. 923 F.2d 55 (1991).

The Jones Act is comprised of the following sub-sections (summarized and paraphrased):

46 U.S.C.S. App. d 688

    • (A) A seaman is entitled to recover damages at law (i.e. money) if he is personally injured during employment and he can elect to have a trial by jury. All statutes modifying or extending the common-law rights and remedies in cases of personal injury to railway employees will apply. (see F.E.L.A. at 45 U.S.C.S. d 51-6 (1939).

    • If the seaman is killed, his personal representative may bring a Jones Act suit where he may recover money damages, have a trial by jury, and all statutes regulating such causes of action for railway employees will apply. Jurisdiction is the residency of the defendant employer or the locality of his principle place of business.

  • (B): Limitation for certain aliens; applicability in lieu of other remedy:
      • (B)(1): Jones Act cause of action will not be maintained unless the seaman is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident alien at the time the incident occurred.

        • (B)(1)(a): Jones Act cause of action will not be maintained if the plaintiff was an employee of a business which explores, develops, produces offshore mineral or energy resources including: drilling, mapping, surveying, diving, pipe-laying, maintaining, repairing, constructing, transporting supplies, equipment, or personnel.

          A cause of action can be maintained for those seamen injured transporting those resources or by a vessel constructed primarily to carry oil in bulk in the cargo spaces.

        • (B)(1)(b): A cause of action will not be maintained for incidents which occur in waters overlaying the continental shelf of a nation other than the U.S., or in its territories, or possessions.

      • (B)(2): A plaintiff may still bring a cause of action although he was prohibited under (b)(1) if he can establish that no remedy was available to him:
          • (B)(2)(a)Under the laws of the nation which has jurisdiction over the area of the incident.

        • (B)(2)(b)Under the laws of the nation which during the time of the incident, the Plaintiff maintained citizenship or residency.