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The History of the Jones Act

Working on a ship poses many dangers. If the employees on board aren’t careful, they can easily be injured. Luckily, the Jones Act has been put into place to offer protection and security to seamen and sailors working aboard sea vessels and boats. Maritime personal injury lawyers are constantly working to ensure that those working on the water are protected and know their rights.

The Jones Act

Prior to the passing of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, those who worked on the sea suffered horrendous working and living conditions. Injuries and deaths weren’t uncommon on board. When these unfortunate mishaps occurred, the sailors had no protection. The shipping and fishing companies weren’t held accountable for any negligence that could have caused the injuries and the workers were rarely compensated. Because of this injustice, Senator Wesley L. Jones of Washington set out to protect sailors and seamen.

Senator Jones fought to improve the living and working conditions of the employees on board these ships. He began trying to find a way to hold the owners of the vessels accountable for the injuries caused to those working due to the working conditions imposed upon them. If a ship was unseaworthy and injury or death occurred to any of their sailors, the vessel would be responsible for damages. This act allowed sailors a legal avenue for claiming damages and wrongdoings based on the negligence of their employers. It also caused the owners of the ships to create more favorable work environments and amenities in order to keep their employees safe.

Marine Commerce Boosted

The Merchant Marine Act also helped to boost marine commerce. By protecting seamen’s rights, more and more people started working on board ships and vessels. By carefully monitoring the shipping coming in and out of U.S. ports and coastal waters, the market had the chance to grow.

The Jones Act was a monumental step forward for all those working aboard sea vessels. Thanks to these protection and safety measures, seamen and sailors no longer have to deal with harsh living and working conditions.

If you’ve been injured while on the water, it’s time to call for help. Contacting maritime personal injury lawyers is a great way to ensure you are protected.