The Jones Act has had a lasting impact on maritime activities in the United States. Perhaps most notably, it makes it so that shipping from one U.S. port to another cannot be done by foreign companies. The ships used must be operated, owned and built by people who are citizens of the United States or permanent residents within the country.
On top of that, the Jones Act helps those who get injured while working on these ships seek proper compensation. Someone who gets injured can potentially get this compensation from the “crew, captain, or ship owner” after the incident takes place.
This rule is well-entrenched in American law. If you’re wondering when it began, you have to look back to the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. When you go to Section 27, you find the Jones Act. That means that, as of this year, the Act is 100 years old.
Why does the Act exist? Today, the assistance with seeking compensation after injury is a major benefit. When it was first introduced, though, the United States was in the process of recovering after the First World War. Congress wanted a way to “stimulate the shipping industry”, and they knew that the Act would make American-based shipping more expensive than it would be otherwise. They enacted it to make sure that companies paid other Americans high prices to move goods within the country.
Have you gotten injured while working on a ship or in a related capacity? If so, it is important to know how the Jones Act has given you rights for 100 years and what legal options you have today.