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Maritime protections provided by the Jones Act

Louisiana residents who work as Merchant Marines should be familiar with the Merchant Marines Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. The legislation provides various protections for mariners who sustain injuries while at sea as maritime law does not allow them to qualify for workers' compensation.

Merchant Marines are typically a fleet of commercial ships whose function is to transport goods to and from nations during times of peace. These fleets of ships can be conscripted by the United States government during times of war to transport soldiers and military supplies.

Also included under the umbrella of the Merchant Marines are private mariners who export or import goods in a commercial setting. Because terrestrial law cannot be applied to people who work at sea, the Jones Act can be used by the employees to pursue damages against their employers for injuries.

People who are protected by the Jones Act include officers, captains, crew members and masters who spend a minimum of 30 percent of their working time on vessels in navigation. It also applies to those same workers who are on a group of vessels that have the same ownership.

A maritime employer is to afford its employees with a workplace that is reasonably safe. If one employee's negligent behavior results in the injuries of another employee, the employer may be financially liable for the injuries sustained by the other employee.

A personal injury attorney who practices maritime law may advise a victim of an offshore workplace injury. The victim may file a lawsuit to hold the employer liable under the Jones Act for any injuries that were sustained in an offshore maritime accident.

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