Criteria for Being a Jones Act Seaman
The Jones Act is a part of maritime law that provides legal rights to offshore workers and seaman. In addition to allowing an injured worker to file a negligence claim against his or her employer, the Jones Act allows workers to collect additional benefits called "maintenance and cure." However, just because you have been injured while working offshore does not necessarily mean that you are protected by the Jones Act. In order to qualify as a Jones Act seaman, there are a number of criteria that must be met.
Criteria for Jones Act
The first criteria that must be met to be is that you must be working on an offshore vessel in navigable waters. Under the Jones Act, vessels include not just boats, ships, and barges, but many types of offshore drilling platforms as well. However, not all offshore drilling platforms are considered vessels under the Jones Act. Platforms that are fixed to the seafloor may not apply. The second criteria that must be met to be considered a Jones Act seaman is that your work must contribute to the vessel's purpose or mission.
Once those two criteria have been met, the final bar that must be reached to qualify as a Jones Act seaman relates to how much of your time is spent working on the vessel. One federal court ruled that you must spend at least 30% of your time on the vessel to be covered by the Jones Act. However, it is important to understand that 30% is used as a rule of thumb and is not determinative.
Consult with a Jones Act Lawyer
If you have been injured while working offshore and you are unsure whether you qualify as a Jones Act seaman, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable Jones Act lawyer. At Arnold & Itkin, our team of has helped offshore workers all across the country recover compensation for their injuries. We can review the facts of your case and help you determine if you are legally protected under the Jones Act or if a different course of legal action is the best option.Contact our Jones Act lawyers today for a free case evaluation!