Jones Act


A federal statute (46 U.S.C. § 688) that extends the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) to seamen. The Act enables seamen who have been injured at sea during the course of their employment to bring a personal injury action against their employers.

Under the Jones Act, the plaintiff may bring an action in federal district court or in state court.
The defendant is not entitled to remove the case from a state court to federal court. Although maritime law generally does not afford the plaintiffs the right to a jury trial, the Jones Act grants plaintiffs that right in personal injury actions.

46 U.S.C. § 688(a) reads: "Any sailor who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right to trial by jury, and in such an action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply…."

Full text of the Jones Act: