The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act)

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that enables an employee to sue their employer following injuries sustained at sea. The act specifically works to ensure adequate compensation for seamen.

A “seaman” is technically defined as a man or woman who spends approximately 30 percent or more of their working time on boats or ships as crew members, or who contributes to the craft’s function or navigation. When a seaman has suffered traumatic injuries resulting from an offshore injury, the Jones Act allows those workers to seek compensation for their physical, emotional or financial losses.

The Jones Act allows the injured victim to sue his or her employer for negligence and to receive fair compensation for past and future medical costs, physical pain, disfigurement, mental anguish, physical limitations, and loss of earning capacity.

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our team of Houston maritime accident lawyers has extensive experience handling offshore injury cases under the Jones Act. If you or your loved one has sustained a serious injury in a maritime accident, contact our Texas personal injury law firm today at to receive a free consultation.

History of the Jones Act

Laws similar to the Jones Act date back to the earliest days of the United States, but the Jones Act itself followed in the wake of the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic. The horrifying accident showed the world just how unsafe it could be to work aboard a seagoing vessel—and how little protection maritime employees had.

The Jones Act was passed in 1920 and, while it has undergone several revisions in the decades since, it has withstood challenges from lobbyists or politicians who wish to curtail its effects. Today this federal law remains a vital resource for seamen injured while performing their duties.

Houston Offshore Accidents Involving the Jones Act

The Jones Act requires a vessel owner or employer to ensure a reasonably safe working environment and maintain a safe, seaworthy craft for the hardworking people it staffs. Under the law, an employee can file a suit against his or her employer or the vessel owner for allowing or creating a variety of unsafe conditions aboard a vessel. An employer or vessel owner can also be sued for negligence.

The Jones Act allows injured seamen to file claims and receive compensation without proving that the unsafe conditions, faulty equipment, or negligent employers were wholly responsible or at fault for their injuries. Rather, the injured employee may only have to prove that negligence played a part — even if it’s a small part — in their injuries.

Texas Maritime Workers’ Rights Under the Jones Act

The Jones Act may grant injured employees the right to maintenance and cure. Maintenance, in this instance, is defined as daily living expenses, including housing costs, food, and utilities. Cure, meanwhile, refers to the medical costs associated with a seaman’s injury. Maintenance and cure begin as soon as the injury occurs and continue until the injured seaman reaches a state of maximum medical improvement.

How Our Houston Maritime Accident Lawyers Can Give You the Support You Need

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our highly-skilled team of Houston maritime accident lawyers understands the intricacies and complexities of the Jones Act and other maritime laws affecting seamen and other maritime employees.

This insight and familiarity with the complicated Jones Act statute gives us the knowledge, experience, and resources to win maritime accident cases. Our Houston personal injury law firm is known throughout Texas for our work on offshore injury cases and our impressive track record of successfully representing people injured in maritime accidents.

If you are the victim of a maritime accident, it is important to work with lawyers who have a significant track record of success. Contact us to receive a free, initial consultation and learn how we can help today at . When you are seeking compensation for debilitating injuries you or your family member sustained in a maritime accident, it is important to contact a knowledgeable maritime lawyer who is well-versed in all legal matters related to federal maritime laws, including the Jones Act.