If you work offshore or in an inland maritime occupation, it is important to know if you qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act. The Jones Act entitles seamen to financial compensation when they get injured at work, and many offshore and maritime jobs are among the most dangerous jobs in the United States. So, are you a Jones Act seaman? While this might seem like a straightforward question, it isn’t. The Jones Act’s definition of a seaman is complex, and different courts have interpreted the law in different ways. With that said, most individuals who work onboard vessels and floating oil rigs and platforms qualify as seamen; and, if you get injured at work, you should not let your employer tell you that you don’t qualify for “seaman” status. Being a “Seaman” Under the Jones Act: The Basics There are three basic requirements to qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act. An offshore or maritime worker must meet all three requirements in order to qualify. These requirements are: Working onboard a “vessel in navigation” Contributing to the work of the vessel Spending a “significant” amount of time on a vessel or fleet Let’s look at each of these three requirements in detail: 1. Working Onboard a “Vessel in Navigation” The first requirement for qualifying as a seaman is working onboard a “vessel in navigation.” The term “vessel” includes all types of boats and ships, as well as floating oil rigs and platforms (but not fixed rigs and […]

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