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Jones Act Compensation

The Jones Act offers valuable compensation for injured maritime workers, above and beyond typical workers’ compensation. 

From cooks to captains, the Law Offices of Richard R. Kennedy navigates the fine points of the law to protect seamen’s rights.

Our Lafayette, LA, practice has won millions in compensation for injured workers under the Jones Act.

Free Consultations 

Who is and is not covered under the Jones Act is complex. You may be surprised who qualifies as a "seaman" as well as the types of maritime vessels it covers. The law also references navigable waterways, but this includes lakes as well as the high seas. If you've been injured at work and think you may qualify as a Jones Act seaman, request a free consultation.

What Is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act is a federal law that allows injured maritime workers, such as those in shipping and transportation, to receive compensation from employers. Also referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, it is an employee-friendly law that offers injured workers more compensation opportunities in cases of negligence than workers' compensation.

While you will need to prove your employer was negligent in order to win compensation, the burden of proof is lower than a standard personal injury lawsuit. Our attorneys have decades of legal practice in both personal injury and maritime law. After reviewing your case, we can determine if you qualify for a Jones Act claim and help you receive the benefits you are entitled to.

Yes, You Can Afford a Top Lawyer Call for a Free Consultation

People in maritime professions think they can't afford a top injury attorney, but they can. At the Law Offices of Richard R. Kennedy in Lafayette, our maritime attorneys work on a contingency basis. That means you don't pay lawyer fees upfront, and you won't owe us a dime if we don't win a settlement or verdict.

Don't take your employer's explanation for what you are owed. Talk to our Jones Act attorneys to get the complete story. Our law firm has served Lafayette, New Iberia, and Louisiana for five generations. We understand how important the maritime industry is to working families as well as the hazardous conditions workers face.

Shipping and oil companies, vessel owners, and employers are all required to provide safe working conditions. When they don't, we're here to make sure they are held accountable. Leave us a message online or request a consultation by phone. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to get the facts about your case.

(337) 232-1934

Serving Lafayette, New Iberia, and Louisiana

"I Got the Absolute Best Settlement Possible." Injury Lawyers You Can Count On


Dwight Johnson


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Honest, straight forward attorney that explained everything about the legal process concerning my case. I never felt pressured to accept any offer that was made on my case, I was allowed to decide what I would accept. If I ever needed an attorney again, he would be the one I would choose. I trust him so much I have recommended him to others that I know.

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Lila Barake


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Richard is a fantastic attorney! He and his staff were incredible about keeping me well informed about my case and making sure that I got the absolute best settlement possible.

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What Damages Can I Expect Under the Jones Act

An injured person hooked up to an IV

Our law firm meticulously catalogs your losses when preparing your Jones Act claim. Compensation under the act is similar to typical damages sought in a personal injury case. In general, legal damages can compensate you for:

  • Lost wages and earning capacity
  • Past and future medical costs
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Mental and emotional trauma
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Lost capacity to enjoy life

Don't Let Time Muddy the Waters In a Jones Act Claim

You have three years from the date of your injury on a ship or vessel to file a lawsuit under the Jones Act. But we recommend you act soon and don't run out the clock. Memories fade, evidence disappears, and witnesses move on. Our maritime lawyers will set to work immediately to gather evidence before it slips away. Getting us onboard early has another benefit: we offer peace of mind.

Who Qualifies for Jones Act Compensation?

Qualifying for coverage under this federal law can be confusing, which is why we recommend contacting the Law Offices of Richard R. Kennedy in Lafayette. The main criteria:

You Must Work on a Vessel

Vessels include container ships, tugboats, and barges. But other unique vessels are also covered, including some types of oil rigs, mobile offshore drilling units, pontoon rafts, and floating dormitories. At least 30 percent of your time must be spent on the vessel. but it's important to note that this percentage is more a rule of thumb than exact criteria. Fine points like this underscore why it is important to have your case reviewed by a knowledgable maritime lawyer.

The Vessel Operates In Navigable Waters

While most people think of large bodies of water when it comes to navigable waters, the term includes rivers and even lakes, such as Lake Charles. Other navigable bodies of water in Louisiana include Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, the Red River, and, of course, the Mississippi River.

You Contribute to the Vessel's Purpose

Everyone working on ships, from cooks and barbers to captains, is covered under the act. In addition, the vessel must be owned by an American or American company, not a foreign company. This is why many cruise ships, which are often owned by foreign companies, are excluded from the Jones Act. 

"They make sure you fully comprehend everything and take the time to answer questions and concerns. They are also protective of you, not just during depositions but the entire process. You feel like you are family and that they have your best interests in the forefront." Michelle Rochon, 5-Star Review
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The Law Offices of Richard R. Kennedy

Richard R. Kennedy and Richard R. Kennedy III can help you and your family recover the compensation you deserve after a personal injury. Our attorneys have been recognized by:

  • Super Lawyers®
  • The American Board of Trial Advocates
  • The National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • The American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell® (AV Preeminent® Rating)

You can schedule a consultation at our office in Lafayette, LA, by contacting us online or by calling (337) 232-1934.

Contact Us Today

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Lafayette Office

309 Polk St
Lafayette, LA 70501

Open Today 8:00am - 5:00pm

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