Under the Jones Act, sailors have certain legal rights that protect maritime workers’ health and livelihood. The law gives them the right, or their spouse or dependents, to file a lawsuit against their employer when the negligence of their fellow crew members or the shipowner causes injury or death.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, this government resolution secures United States oceanic business in public waters and between US ports. With hundreds of thousands of sailors working on barges, container ships, tugboats, push tugs, crew transport vessels, dredgers, cargo ships, fishing vessels, and other vessels, this law was created to protect the marine industry. If you have suffered a serious injury at sea, you can ask your employer for compensation to protect your health, family, and livelihood. If a loved one died while participating in maritime operations, you could also file a claim. An offshore injury lawyer at Zehl & Associates can provide you with the experienced and compassionate support and advice you need. By having a maritime lawyer from Zehl & Associates, you can be sure that we will work to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Jones Act Claims

A claim can be made under the Jones Act when the injured sailor can prove negligence or fault on the shipowners, operators, or other crew members. A claim can also be filed if the sailor can prove that the injury was caused because the ship was unsafe or unseaworthy. The shipowner has a legal responsibility to provide a safe vessel and a well-trained crew. If there is a defect in the vessel or its rigging, or if the vessel is not properly maintained and serious injury occurs, a claim may be made.


When you are injured in an offshore accident, paid crew members on a US vessel are covered by the Jones Act. A sailor can file a claim under the Jones Act for the following damages:

  • maintenance and cure related to wages, housing, and medical assistance;
  • damages caused by negligence; and
  • unseaworthiness of a ship.

If the crew were not well trained for the expected service and that lack of skill or knowledge caused or contributed to the seaman’s injury, negligence can be proven. 

It is important to know who qualifies as a sailor under the Jones Act, what structures are considered ships under the Jones Act, and what rights are protected by that law.

Contact an Offshore Injury Lawyer

Due to the complexities and challenges of maritime law, you should not delay filing a claim for benefits under the Jones Act. If you have suffered an offshore injury or illness, you can receive compensation from those responsible. 

For the level of experience and commitment you deserve, contact an offshore injury lawyer from Zehl & Associates today.