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How does the Jones Act help mariners?

A couple of months ago, we wrote a post about how we can help workers at sea and crew members on boats and shipping vessels to fulfill their Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims. In that post, we talked about how the Jones Act protects workers, seamen and other people working in maritime industries from unsafe conditions and negligent employers.

But how does the Jones Act actually do this? Well, let's take a closer look. First, it is important to note that the name "Jones Act" is actually shorthand for the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. This act laid the legal framework for workers at sea that operate on "merchant marines" -- which are essentially any ships trading in commercial goods, excluding military vessels.

People who work in the private sector of the maritime industry fall under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, which we will call the Jones Act going forward. It also provides provisions and rules that designate which vessels and which workers fall under the Jones Act.

The Jones Act helps and protects workers at sea in two distinct ways. The first way is that it holds employers responsible for providing a safe working environment at sea. If your employer didn't train you properly; if the ship or working area was unsafe due to a spilled liquid; if equipment was not kept up to code or wasn't maintained; or if the employer failed to provide you with crucial equipment, then you could sue your employer under the Jones Act for injuries you suffered due to their negligence.

The other way is by alleviating some of the burden of proof for the victim. The Jones Act merely requires the victim of an accident to show that their employer's negligence was involved in the accident -- which is different to a personal injury claims which requires the plaintiff to prove the negligence.

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