Determining When the Jones Act Applies

The Jones Act is a vital piece of maritime law that incorporates nearly every maritime job in the United States. Of course, before running off to find the world’s best maritime injury lawyer, one should be sure that their injury at sea qualifies under the Jones Act.

Injury at sea can be incredibly dangerous and those who put their lives in harm’s way are likely to experience some sort of injury during a lifetime of service. Injuries covered under the Jones Act range from large to small, and of course, there are special addendums to cover accidental death at sea.

Under specific admiralty law, maritime injuries require covered under this special clause are to be deemed accidental in the case of a seaman of servitude. The term servitude covers a wide range of sea going occupations, including but not limited to merchant sea-persons, commercial fishing, shrimp boats, water taxi and ferry personnel, as well as divers, drivers, and all other underwater personnel. In the event that a sea-person of servitude does not receive the appropriate compensation for an injury obtained at sea, the natural course of action is to retain an appropriate maritime injury lawyer to determine the eligible status of the injury and its related circumstances.

The law is not as simple as most believe. It isn’t always a simple correlation between injury and lawsuit. Sometimes a person can get hurt, fault can be determined, and a maritime attorney can file the appropriate lawsuit. Other cases are much more complicated and there are circumstances where a maritime attorney can do nothing on behalf of the injured party. This is why it is vital that the appropriate maritime injury lawyer is sought out and consulted with.

In some cases, the Jones Act will apply to a sailing instructor and even a camp counselor at a sailing camp. Depending on various factors involved, sometimes the Jones Act doesn’t apply. While the maritime injury lawyers are quite busy keeping up with changes to existing law, lay people should refrain from making assumptions about what applies to them and what doesn’t. Sometimes, it is all simply a matter of circumstance. Without a consultation, it is nearly impossible to determine an injured party’s eligibility for protection under the Jones Act.

Admiralty law was designed to protect the merchants and the sea-persons who have continuously placed their lives at risk in servitude to their country’s defense. While this was originally an English inclusion (as it applies to the United States) admiralty law has grown to cover various aspect of a life at sea. The protection under the laws which were granted are in place to not only compliment existing laws regarding workplace safety and liability, but also to intercede and assist judgments and final rulings in cases that are in direct conflict with maritime law.

After all many maritime laws are not necessarily on equal footing with laws of the land. When these laws were originally concocted for the appropriate protections pertaining to seamen, many lived without setting foot on dry land for years on end, with no desire to ever become a land dweller.

While times have changed since the original English inception of maritime law, the laws haven’t always adhered to modern day interpretations of maritime life. This means that a maritime attorney is the only viable resource for determining the effects of the law pertaining to an injury at sea.

A maritime injury lawyer may be able to procure large settlements and award judgments for those who have sustained an injury at sea, while at the same time, depending on the language of the law and the circumstances surrounding the injury itself, a maritime injury lawyer may not be able to procure even the most nominal medical expense for the injured party.

Life at sea, whether it is an entire life, a whole life, or a season of a life, is vastly different from life on land. While there are numerous unmatchable beauties and thrills that coincide with a life at sea, there are also innumerable dangers. It can not be assumed that just because one has gone to sea regularly for the past thirty years without incident that their luck will hold out.

Even the best of vigilance, precaution, maintenance, and care can not always prevent the unforeseen and the unpredictability of the weather. Life at sea is for a very select few, and those select few understand the implications of entering life among the waves. After all, if they didn’t, they would simply stay ashore.

Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on cases involving maritime injury, maritime contracts, and the Jones Act Law. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit

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