The Jones Act: Protection From The Negligence Of A Vessel Owner

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | August 19, 2015
The Jones Act: Protection From The Negligence Of A Vessel Owner

Negligence occurs when an employer takes an unreasonable risk or acts in an unsafe fashion that endangers an employee by creating a risk for injury or death. Laws have been enacted to protect workers who are injured while performing their duties by allowing financial recovery. The point of legislation is not to just compensate for injury or death, but the intention is to also encourage employers and owners to make safe decisions. Despite federal legislation’s best intentions, workers are still seriously impacted by the negligence of other employees and owners. Unfortunately, the Saint Louis community recently felt the impact of a potentially negligent vessel owner. On July 16, 2015, a Thomas Industrial Coatings employee was killed when a tugboat hit Eads Bridge. The worker was sandblasting on the bridge, but after the bridge sustained an impact, the worker fell to his death. This type of tragic accident is of the exact type of negligent misfortune legislation like the Jones Act was designed to guard against.

What is the Jones Act and How Does it Apply?

The Jones Act, formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal legislation aimed at protecting workers who are injured at sea; the act allows sailors who are involved or injured in accidents while in the course of performing their job to recover compensation.1 However, pursuant to the act, negligence claims can also be brought when an injury results from an owner or employer’s carelessness or when an accident is caused by the unsafe condition of the vessel.2 The Jones Act does not just apply to sea injures, but it also applies to inland river injuries as would be sustained in the State of Missouri. Most land based employment accidents would be covered by workers compensation, but when a worker not employed by the vessel is injured, because of the negligent actions of the vessel owner then the Jones Act kicks in. For instance, if a person working on a river’s bridge is injured due to the operation of an unseaworthy vessel or the negligent operation of a seaworthy vessel, then the Jones Act can help the injured person or a family who has lost a loved one recover compensation.3

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured due to the negligence of a vessel owner or employee it is important to discuss the circumstances of your accident with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contacting an attorney can be a helpful step towards protecting your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury trial attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm Law Firm at 314-735-8100.



A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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