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Jones Act Maritime Law Attorney

Jones Act

California Maritime Lawyer Preston Easley Seeks Maximum Compensation For Workers and Crew Members in CA and HI Who Sustained Injuries While Working Aboard Vessels Covered Under the Jones Act

The Jones-Shafroth Act (more commonly know simply as “The Jones Act,”) falls under Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (46 U.S.C. 883; 19 CFR 4.80 and 4.80b).  The Jones Act was signed into law on March 2, 1917 by President Woodrow Wilson.  The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-261) is a United States Federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports and provides for substantial rights for seaman.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 has been revised a number of times, and amendments to the Jones Act, known as the Cargo Preference Act (P.L. 83-644), provide permanent legislation for the transportation of waterborne cargoes in U.S.-flag vessels.

Maritime Accident Lawyer Preston Easley is a Graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. You Can Rely on His Expertise in Maritime Law to Protect Your Rights. Contact Him Today For a Free Consultation About Your Case.

The Jones Act establishes several important purposes including:

  • Cargo moving between U.S. ports must be carried in a vessel that was built in the United States and is at least 75% owned by American citizens or corporations.
  • Requires that workers and crew members on vessels covered under the Jones Act  be American citizens or legal aliens.
  • Regulates seamen’s health, accident, and disability benefits

Types of Claims Made Under The Jones Act

An Act is a type of law that contains rules and regulations that relate to specific situations and circumstances.  The Jones Act gives seamen the right to seek compensation for serious injuries sustained due to the negligence of co-workers or an employer while the seaman was working as an employee on a vessel.

Under it, injured workers may be able to sue an employer even when the duties of the job being performed were known to be dangerous.  For example, commercial fishing has been ranked as the single most dangerous profession in the United States more often than any other profession.  Working on a commercial fishing boat clearly presents a high risk of danger.  However, if the seaman’s employer committed even a small breach of duty that created or led to conditions that caused an injury the employer may be held liable for accidents even in high-risk jobs.

In addition to compensation for injuries that are caused by negligence, under this Act, an injured seaman may also make a claim against the vessel’s owner on the basis that the vessel was not seaworthy. An employer may also be liable for failing to provide a seaman with adequate medical care.

Under the Act, injured seamen can seek to recover damages for lost wages since the accident as well as future economic and non-economic losses.

Definition of A “Jones Act Seaman”

Only a “seaman” can recover under the Jones Act.  In Chandris, Inc., v. Latsis, 515 U.S. 347, 115 S.Ct. 2172 (1995), the United States Supreme Court set standards for determining the status of any employee as a “Jones Act seaman.”

To be considered a “seaman” for purposes of filing a claim under the Jones Act:

  • A worker must spend 30% or more of his/her time in the service of a vessel on navigable waters;
  • Must be a member of the crew of a vessel;
  • May also be someone assigned to a fleet of vessels by the employer.

Eligible seaman may bring legal action in a U.S. federal court or in a state court.  The seaman/Plaintiff is entitled to a jury trial, a right which is not afforded in maritime law absent a statute authorizing it.

The above guidelines may seem clear, but it is not always so simple in establishing seaman status in lawsuits.  The circumstances of each case and situation must be carefully evaluated by an experienced maritime law attorney.

Experienced San Diego, San Pedro, CA and Honolulu, HI Jones Act Attorneys

Because laws are subject to change and/or clarification through amendments, and the way existing laws are interpreted and applied can be altered by new published decisions that become case law, it is important that you hire an attorney who specializes in maritime law.  The Law Firm of Preston Easley devotes its entire practice to maritime law.  

California and Hawaii Maritime injury and accident attorney Preston Easley is an experienced and aggressive plaintiff’s trial lawyer and appellate lawyer.  At the appellate level Preston Easley has been a pioneer in expanding the rights of injured workers, frequently reversing lower court decisions and making new law.   His extensive legal experience includes several landmark decisions under The Jones Act on behalf of his clients.

There is a strict statute of limitations on filing maritime claims so it is important that you take the first step towards helping yourself. For a free initial consultation, call or email our law firm today.

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Cases We Handle

  • maritime worker working on ship

    Longshoremen & Shipyard Workers

    Longshoring and shipyard work are very dangerous occupations. Workers in these fields, along with marine construction workers, are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, a very generous no-fault workers’ compensation system. It covers medical expenses, temporary disability, permanent disability and vocational rehabilitation.

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  • sea vessel docked at US shore

    Jones Act Seamen

    A seaman is a member of the crew of a vessel or group of vessels under common ownership or control. The vessel can be anything from a raft to a cargo ship. We represent seamen who work aboard recreational vessels, tugboats, dredges, barges, skiffs, workboats and cargo ships. We also represent seamen who are marine construction workers

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  • Diving

    We represent people who have been injured in SCUBA diving accidents and Commercial diving accidents. We also handle diving boat accidents. Diving can be very dangerous. We successfully represented a commercial diver who was seriously injured while cleaning the propeller of a U.S. Navy ship at Pearl Harbor

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  • accident at construction site and hard hat on floor

    Construction & Industrial Accidents

    Construction and industrial sites can be very dangerous. Although you generally cannot sue your own employer for a construction site or industrial accident (generally workers’ compensation is your exclusive remedy against your employer) there are many circumstances in which you can file a third party lawsuit against an entity other than your employer for an unsafe condition at a work site which causes you to be injured

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  • Forklift and Crane Injuries Lawyer

    Crane & Forklift Accidents

    The Easley firm has extensive experience with crane and forklift accidents and workplace accidents involving dangerous equipment and machinery. These accidents can be caused by operator error and they can be caused by the unsafe and defective condition of the equipment

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  • auto accident involving two cars on a city street

    Motor Vehicle & Truck Accidents

    Motor vehicle accidents can result in serious injury and death. These kinds of accidents can involve automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and unsafe road design and unsafe road conditions

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  • Catamaran Injuries Attorney

    Passenger Vessel Accidents

    Passenger accidents are common on recreational vessels, catamarans, tour boats and cruise ships.  They are frequently caused by rough sea conditions and unsafe conditions aboard the vessels.  The Easley firm has extensive experience in the field of maritime law.  We have made new law in the field of maritime law with numerous precedent setting decisions in the State Appellate Courts, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court

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  • Defense Base Act

    The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act which covers civilian employees of U.S. defense contractors injured overseas, including war zones. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensations Act as extended by the Defense Base Act is a very generous no fault workers’ compensation system

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Areas Where We Practice

Preston Easley is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He served five years of active duty as a Naval officer — three years as a deck officer on a fast frigate and two years as a patrol boat skipper. Mr. Easley also served aboard a tank landing ship in the reserves.




Let Us Get You The Compensation You Deserve

Preston Easley is an experienced lawyer with considerable expertise in handling federal and state personal injury cases. He will aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. Attorney Easley represents victims of serious and fatal accidents involving cars, trucks, construction projects and maritime work.

Construction Workers We Help

  • Crane and Forklift Operators
  • Pile Drivers
  • Scaffold Workers
  • Iron Workers
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Operating Engineers
  • Electricians

Maritime Workers We Help

  • National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) Shipyard Workers
  • Manson Construction Company Workers
  • Manson Dredging Workers
  • Dutra Dredging Workers
  • Commercial Divers
  • Scuba Divers
  • Commercial Fisherman
  • Government Maritime Claims Against the Navy, Army Corps of Engineers, or the US Coast Guard, etc.
  • Marine Construction Workers
  • Offshore Oil and Gas Workers
  • Seamen
  • Shipyard Workers
  • YYK Enterprises, Inc.
  • Pacific Tugboat Service
  • Long Beach Container Terminal
  • Tugboat, Dredge, Longshoremen, and Ferry Workers
  • Barge Crews and Barge Workers
  • Marisco Limited
  • HL Welding
  • SSA Marine
  • Catalina Express
  • R.E. State Engineering
  • Shimmick Construction
  • Nova Group
  • American Scaffolding
  • Safway Scaffolding
  • Kirby Tugs
  • Crowley Tugboats
  • P&R Water Taxi
  • Continental Maritime
  • Pacific Ship Repair
  • Seaward Marine
  • Healy Tibbitts
  • General Construction
  • BAE Shipyards
  • South Coast Welding
  • Matson
  • Pasha
  • Hawaii Stevedores, Inc.
  • McCabe, Hamilton & Renny
  • Young Brothers
  • Sause Bros.
  • Foss Maritime
  • Fenix Marine Services
  • ITS
  • Total Terminals
  • TraPac
  • PCMC
  • Maersk
  • Yang Ming
  • China Overseas Shipping
  • Evergreen

Boating Accidents

  • Catamaran Accidents
  • Charter and Tour Boats
  • Cruise Ship Accidents
  • Passenger Accidents
  • Jet Ski and Personal Watercraft
  • Motorboat Accidents
  • Recreational Accidents
  • Scuba Diving Accidents
  • Speed Boat Accidents
  • Yachts and Sail Boat Accidents
  • Repair Accidents
  • Crew Accidents
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