Workers’ Compensation in Three Acts
The Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. §30104, et seq., is a mixed compensation and liability scheme arising from the exclusive federal jurisdiction established in Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. It covers compensation for injuries and death sustained by the masters and crews of vessels. Much of the law covering seamen is jurisprudential, based extensively on English case law adopted by the federal courts of the young American nation. Much of this law was codified in the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. In the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress granted the district courts exclusive jurisdiction over admiralty and maritime claims, now codified at 28 U.S.C. §1333.
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