Am I Covered Under the Jones Act?
The Jones Act applies to seamen who are working in service to a vessel in navigation.
This does not mean that the vessel must be moving, it simply means the vessel must be in active operation. To qualify as a Jones Act seaman, an employee must have a substantial connection to a single vessel or fleet of vessels. The Jones Act requires that the injured seaman prove that negligence of the vessel owner, master, crew member, or employer or an unsafe condition caused or contributed to his injury.
In order to be eligible for compensation under the Jones Act, you need to qualify as a "seaman."
Generally speaking, this means you must have been assigned to a vessel or fleet in operation on a navigable waterway, and your duties must have contributed to the vessel's function. A seaman must spend at least 30 percent of his working service on the vessel. For instance, deckhands, engineers, cooks and housekeeping stewards can all qualify as seamen under the law, as can many workers on offshore oil rigs.
If you are an offshore worker and are injured on the job, then you can be covered under the Jones Act if employer negligence is proven. If you are not on a vessel at least 30 percent of your work hours, but you were in an adjacent field, another maritime law may apply to you.
If you are able to obtain settlement in a Jones Act case, this means your lost wages will likely be compensated for and it is possible that compensation for pain, medical care, and cost of living during recovery will also be compensated for.