Free Consultations :

Virginia Jones Act Lawyer

The Jones Act: Negligence on the High Seas

Your Rights Under the Jones Act

Click to View Infogrpahic

The Jones Act is one of the oldest pieces of worker protection legislation in the United States. It defines and regulates the relationship between maritime workers and their employers. When the actions of careless employers directly contribute to the injury or death of a seaman, the Jones Act ensures justice.

It is extremely important that you hire an attorney who understands maritime law.

Maritime matters are governed by federal law, not state personal injury law. To properly protect your rights, injured maritime workers should speak with an experienced maritime attorney. Richard Serpe as a Master of Laws (LL.M) in Maritime and Admiralty Law.

  1. Am I a Jones Act Seaman?
  2. Maintenance & Cure Payments
  3. Jones Act vs Workers’ Comp
  4. Defining Negligence
  5. $3.5M Settlement Video

Do I Qualify Under the Jones Act?

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is an important federal maritime law. This law protects workers who are injured or become ill at sea by allowing them to recover compensation from their employer.

  • To qualify for such protections, a maritime worker must fall under the Jones Act definition of a “seaman”. U.S. courts have generally interpreted “seamen” to mean anyone performing work related to a vessel’s purpose operating in navigable waters. Navigable waters meaning waters capable of being used for commerce.
  • The employee must also spend a “significant” amount of their time on the vessel. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis by taking into account the circumstances of employment. However, this often means at least 30% of their time.

Maintenance and Cure

Maintenance and Cure are automatic under the Jones Act, and are to be implemented even if the injury happened for reasons that were nobody’s fault.

The entitlements for which injured workers are automatically eligible are:

  • Maintenance: This is a small daily allowance for living expenses during the time that you are injured. This should last for as long as the worker would have been working had the injury not occurred.
  • Cure: This is coverage for your medical bills, including rehabilitation and therapy, until the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement. You should realize that maximum medical improvement can be reached even if the injured victim will never fully recover from his injuries, or even if he or she will never be able to return to work.

The Jones Act vs. Workers’ Compensation

Many are surprised to learn that maritime employees are not covered by normal workers’ compensation insurance. Instead, seamen can file personal injury claims against the company they work for. If maritime workers can prove that their employer did not provide a safe environment in which to work, they can recover the costs associated with their injury.

Defining Negligence Under the Jones Act

For an incident to qualify as negligent under the Jones Act, one of three standards must apply:

  • Someone acts in a way a person with good judgment would not
  • A person fails to do something that a person with good judgment would do
  • Another person does not take reasonable care to prevent being injured or causing the injury of others

Maritime work always carries some degree of risk, however, employees deserve a safe work environment to perform their duties. Regardless of whether a ship is in port or at sea, the Jones Act requires maritime employers to:

  • Free the deck of hazards, obstacles and slippery substances like oil
  • Keep equipment and tools in good working order
  • Regularly inspect equipment for possible defects
  • Crewmembers must be properly trained
  • Prevent fights and physical altercations between colleagues
  • Ensure the vessel avoids storms and other hazardous conditions
  • Create and use safety procedures routinely

$3.5M Settlement: Client Story

Contact an Experienced Jones Act Lawyer

A seaman injured while working aboard a vessel may be entitled to compensation. Our maritime injury lawyers can help you recoup the costs associated with your injury and help set you up for a brighter tomorrow. Contact us now for a free consultation.


    Virginia Maritime Lawyer Settlements & Verdicts
    Barge Accident Caused Brain Injury
    Richmond, Virginia
    Vessel Collision Caused Severe Injuries
    Portsmouth, Virginia
    Barge Accident
    Norfolk, Virginia
    Unseaworthy Vessel Caused Injury
    Fishing Boat Accident
    Norfolk, Virginia
    top attorney rating badge
    martindale-hubbell top rating
    Richard Serpe best lawyers Norfolk
    We help people like you every day
    Kelli S., Portsmouth, VA
    He listened carefully to our concerns and gave us honest legal advice
    My husband and I worked with Richard for the past year and had a wonderful experience. At our first meeting, he did not push us to sign anything or make
    - Kelli S., Portsmouth, VA
    Shaniqua J., Winchester, VA
    Richard Serpe, and his staff did a thorough investigation into the dog owner
    My 7-year-old daughter was outside playing with friends in front of our home when she was viciously attacked by our neighbor’s Rottweiler. The Rottweiler dug a hole under the fence,
    - Shaniqua J., Winchester, VA
    Angela Woodson, Richmond, VA
    Richard Serpe was able to get an excellent recovery for my daughter
    When my daughter suffered an injury from lead poisoning, I did not know where to turn. There did not seem to be many lawyers who could help. The landlord responsible
    - Angela Woodson, Richmond, VA
    Elizabeth C., Virginia Beach, VA
    Thank you Richard Serpe and your firm
    This firm has been beside us through the whole process from when we first found out that our home had been built with Chinese drywall until justice was served. They
    - Elizabeth C., Virginia Beach, VA
    Mikhal Taylor, Richmond Virginia
    The people who work for him were always great to work with
    Richard Serpe handled the case for my daughter for injuries she received over 10 years ago. The people who work for him were always great to work with! They responded
    - Mikhal Taylor, Richmond Virginia
    Allena A., Eastern Shore of VA
    Such a wonderful group of people to have by your side
    Such a wonderful group of people to have by your side! Genuinely cares and wants to help you and your family 🙂
    - Allena A., Eastern Shore of VA
    Melissa Baumann, Norfolk, VA
    Richard acted as my advocate, my friend, my partner and my champion
    Within seconds of meeting with Richard Serpe, he identified a number of potential mistakes I was making – many of which could have been quite costly. Throughout the entire process,
    - Melissa Baumann, Norfolk, VA
    Art Serratelli, Virginia Beach Immigration Lawyer
    I endorse this lawyer
    I endorse this lawyer. Richard is an extremely intelligent person and a very kind man. Not only is Richard a top-notch attorney, but he also is very compassionate one. You
    - Art Serratelli, Virginia Beach Immigration Lawyer
    Eddie Stodghill, Richmond, VA
    I would recommend Richard Serpe
    After a major maritime accident on the water, I was scared and didn’t know where to turn. The Law Offices of Richard Serpe and his great staff treated me with
    - Eddie Stodghill, Richmond, VA
    Hallie, Williamsburg, VA
    I highly recommend this Personal Injury Law Firm
    I highly recommend this Personal Injury Law Firm. They kept me in the loop with everything going on and gave honest advice. I am very satisfied!
    - Hallie, Williamsburg, VA
    Virginia Maritime Lawyer, Jones Act Attorney Video
    Virginia Maritime Lawyer, Jones Act Attorney Video
    If you've been seriously injured on the water, contact Maritime Lawyer Richard Serpe for a free case review. [embed][/embed] Richard Serpe: Master of Laws in Maritime/Admiralty Maritime matters, on the other hand, are
    Crew Member Aboard Dive Boat that Caught Fire, Files Lawsuit
    Crew Member Aboard Dive Boat that Caught Fire, Files Lawsuit
    Fishing Boat Attack Kills One, Injures Two
    Fishing Boat Attack Kills One, Injures Two
    Longshoreman Killed in Mooring Line Accident
    Longshoreman Killed in Mooring Line Accident