What Is the Jones Act?

How admiralty law affects your recovery for maritime injuries in Texas

Maritime occupations are extremely dangerous. Seamen and harbor workers risk drowning, electrocution, fires, explosions, falls, being struck by heavy objects, getting limbs caught in industrial machinery and exposure to toxic chemicals.

Founded by Attorney George “Buck” Cire, Cire Law Firm in Houston resolves complex problems through litigation and alternative resolution methods. Mr. Cire worked for Koomey Inc. before beginning his law career three decades ago. He recognized that his colleagues at the oilfield equipment company risked serious injuries while performing dangerous jobs and recognized the devastating effects a tragic accident would have on their families. The experience taught him the importance of having an effective legal team to tap all available resources for financial support in the aftermath of a catastrophic accident.

History of the Jones Act

In the past, a sailor injured at sea far from home could be left at a distant port with no compensation and no ability to earn passage back home. Eventually, the U.S. admiralty laws mandated that employers take responsibility for the costs of medical care and living expenses of employees injured while performing a maritime job. Seamen’s rights and other provisions were codified in the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 became known as the Jones Act because the law was introduced by Sen. Wesley Jones. The Jones Act has been revised several times throughout the last century, most recently in a 2006 amendment.

How the Jones Act applies to your case

If you are injured while working at sea, on an oil rig, on a dock, on a pier, or at a shipbuilding or maintenance facility, you may be entitled to relief under the Jones Act. Federal legal remedies may be available under these theories:

  • Maintenance and cure — A form of workers’ compensation, this may entitle you to daily living expenses and medical treatments, regardless of who is at fault for the injuries or illness you suffered while in the service of a vessel.
  • Jones Act negligence — You must show that a vessel owner, captain or crewmember was to blame for your injuries or disease to collect under this fault-based compensation. Although you have the burden of demonstrating fault, the standard is much lower than in civil personal injury claims.
  • Vessel not seaworthy — To collect under this fault-based doctrine, you must show that your injuries were caused by a breach of warranty because of equipment that was not reasonably safe for its intended purpose, which is to remain safe while at sea.

Pursue your maximum compensation for your admiralty workplace injuries in Houston

To learn more about your rights under the Jones Act and other admiralty laws, call Cire Law Firm at 713.532.6206 or contact us online. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our litigation firm is conveniently located in the Galleria area off the 610 Loop in Houston. We handle maritime and injury cases in Houston, Belmont, Fort Bend and Harris and Montgomery counties.

Your initial consultation is free, and we represent you on contingency. If your injuries prevent you from traveling, we can make appointments at your home or the hospital.

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