Every industry comes with its share of hazards, and the maritime industry is no exception. It is not uncommon for seamen to sustain injuries while moving back and forth between the vessel and land while doing their jobs.
The Jones Act allows injured maritime workers to pursue financial restitution for the resulting damages. But what happens if your injuries happened on land? Would you be eligible for compensation?
Understanding the Jones Act
The Jones Act is a federal maritime law that provides compensation to seamen who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses. Vessels that qualify under the Jones Act include all kinds of ships and boats including cruise ships, container and cargo ships, fishing vessels, charter boats, tankers, offshore drilling rigs, ferries and tugboats.
To qualify for compensation under the Jones Act, you must satisfy the following criteria:
- You must meet the definition of a “seaman.” This means that you need to be an employee of the vessel and spend at least 30 percent of your work hours aboard the vessel in navigation.
- The vessel must be American-built with at least 75 percent U.S. ownership
- You must sustain an injury or develop an illness during the court of your work
- Your injury or illness must be attributable to your employer’s or co-worker’s negligence
If you meet the criteria above, you may be eligible for compensation under the Jones Act even if your injuries happened on land. For instance, if you are hurt while in a docked vessel (like loading and unloading cargo), you may be eligible for compensation as long as the injuries happened while in the course of your employment.
Safeguarding your rights
If you sustain an injury or develop an illness while working aboard a vessel, it is in your best interest that you pursue compensation for the resulting damages per the provisions of the Jones Act.