What Types of Vessels are Covered by the Jones Act?
Often, those who are injured while working on a vessel are not certain if they are covered under the Jones Act. To determine whether or not your case is eligible for a Jones Act claim, it is important to understand how a "vessel" is defined under the law.
What Is a Jones Act Vessel?
When it was first passed in the 1920s, the Jones Act covered a limited number of vessels. These vessels included cargo ships, tugboats, barges and cruise ships. However, as maritime technology has advanced over the last 90 years, the definition of a vessel under the Jones Act has been forced to evolve and be redefined. In a 2005 ruling, the Supreme Court defined the word vessel as “every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water."
This decision had sweeping implications regarding the application of the Jones Act in cases involving maritime injuries. Due to old definitions of what constitutes a vessel, lower courts often ruled that structures such as jack-up and semi-submersible rigs, mobile offshore drilling units, dredges, and pontoon rafts did not qualify as vessels. However, since the 2005 Supreme Court decision, vessels are no longer required to be self-propelled (the defining quality of a seafaring vessel for decades).
Billions Won by Nationwide Jones Act Attorneys
Clients who have suffered an offshore injury deserve to have their lives put back together. At Arnold & Itkin, our Jones Act attorneys have proudly fought for our clients to secure their future. In fact, when almost one-third of the crew of the Deepwater Horizon needed us, we were there to secure the compensation and financial stability they needed after a life-altering disaster.
If you are still unsure whether or not you qualify under the Jones Act, do not hesitate to contact us online or call at (888) 346-5024—our team of Jones Act lawyers is ready to assist you.