The Jones Act Overview

The Jones Act is one of the most worker-friendly statutes in existence in the United States because it gives seamen and sailors very broad rights to sue their employers in the event that they are injured while navigating, or attempting to navigate, American waters carrying cargo for U.S. ports.

In the 1910s, the United States was losing about a hundred sailors per month to deep injury or even death. To combat the occupational hazards of being a seaman, Congress passed the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 which gives vast monetary recovery rights to sailors if they are injured or killed while at sea. The purpose of this highly pro-worker maritime law was and is to incentivize ship operators to adopt the highest safety standards possible by imposing stiff penalties for marine workers that are injured on the job.

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