Jones Act

The leading Fort Lauderdale Jones Act lawyers at Anidjar & Levine are dedicated to helping maritime employees injured at sea. We have extensive experience handling all types of maritime personal injury cases, recovering compensation for sailors and crewmen throughout Florida.

The Jones Act is a federal law that protects maritime employees injured at sea. Seamen are uniquely exposed to serious personal injury and even death due to accidents caused by the vessel owner, fellow crew members, or unseaworthy vessels. Because state workers’ compensation laws do not cover employees on wharves, docks, or navigable waters, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, now known as the Jones Act, was enacted to allow injured sailors to recover compensation for their medical costs and health recovery. Specifically, the law allows maritime workers to sue their employers or ship owners for negligent conduct causing their injury. The Jones Act covers a wide range of vessels and maritime employees, including:

  • Cruise ships and yachts
  • Ferries and water taxis
  • Tugs and fishing boats
  • Barges and workboats
  • Tankers and trawlers
  • Offshore oil rigs
  • Crew members
  • Captains, mates
  • Deckhands
  • Engineers
  • Stewards
  • Sailors

The Jones Act is codified in Chapter 46 of the United States Code. It protects crew members of all types, regardless of rank. Therefore, a captain has the same right to recover as a fish processor, or even a tour guide, so long as the injury occurred aboard a vessel covered by the Act. A seaman is defined as an individual “engaged or employed in any capacity aboard a vessel,” including the master, crew members, and workers on offshore oil rigs. Seamen injured in the course of employment are entitled to many of the same benefits covered under state workers’ compensation laws. They are entitled to additional benefits if their injury was caused by the negligence of the employer or the dangerous working environment of the vessel. Under the Jones Act, injured seamen may also sue their employers under the following legal theories:

  • Breach of contract
  • Jones Act negligence
  • Maintenance and cure
  • Unearned or sick wages
  • Wrongful discharge
  • Unseaworthy vessel

Injured maritime employees are entitled to a variety of benefits under the Jones Act. First, they are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, both those already paid and any future costs of recovery. Compensable medical expenses may include the costs of future surgery, ongoing rehabilitation, and transportation costs. Those who cannot return to work are entitled to past and future lost wages as well as costs for vocational retraining. Because serious injuries severely limit the types of jobs available to the victim, the Jones Act also allows damages for lost earning capacity. Additionally, injured workers are entitled to payments when they are temporarily or permanently disabled. In cases where the injury is caused by negligence, the victim is entitled to damages for pain and suffering. Because recovering under the Jones Act is complex, it is important to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney.

If you were injured on a vessel, the experienced Fort Lauderdale Jones Act attorneys of Anidjar & Levine can help. We have successfully handled all types of maritime personal injury cases, helping injured seamen and crewmembers recover the compensation they deserve. At Anidjar & Levine, we believe in fair, honest representation and are dedicated to helping you get back on your feet. In fact, we do not charge attorney’s fees unless we recover compensation for you. With years of experience litigating Jones Act cases in Florida courts, we can help you obtain compensation for your injuries, whether you live in South Florida or elsewhere. For a free consultation, call 800-747-3733 or contact us online.