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What is the Jones Act?

When a Hawaiian worker is hurt while performing the duties of their job, there are laws in place that may provide the worker with compensation for the period of time that he or she is unable to work. Additionally, there are other laws that may give them rights to sue if their injuries are the fault of their employer. However, if that worker's job is on a ship, oilrig or other offshore vessel, the protections just mentioned may not apply to them.

Maritime workers, or individuals employed in maritime trades, generally do not have rights under the same laws as workers whose jobs keep them on land. As such, maritime workers need legal protections so that they are not forced to bear the burdens of their employers' negligence and the losses they may incur due to those deficiencies.

This is where a specific act comes into play. The Jones Act, more formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, extends protections to maritime workers who suffer harm while doing their jobs. Employers in the merchant marine are required to provide their employees with reasonably safe working conditions and when they do not, the protections of the Act may come into play.

For example, the Jones Act allows a hurt worker to sue if they were forced to use unsafe equipment or to work without the right safety equipment. Poorly maintained ships, inadequately trained captains and a host of other issues may lead to worker injuries and litigation under the Jones Act.

The Jones Act and claims related to merchant marine and maritime accidents are a unique part of personal injury law. For that reason it is important that individuals who are harmed in these types of incidents seek assistance from attorneys who understand and practice maritime law. This not only protects your rights but also helps with the collection of losses and damages.

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