The Jones Act is a federal statute and is not limited by any type of geographic region or any geographic distance offshore. Whether or not the Jones Act applies to you is going to be determined more by your status with the company. If your company assigns you to work generally 30 percent or more on vessels, in all likelihood, you’re going to fall under the Jones Act.
Whether you’re working on a lake, up and down the Mississippi River or another river, out in the Gulf of Mexico, or even overseas in foreign waters, if your relationship with your company classifies you as Jones Act seaman, then your physical location makes little difference.
It really is not surprising that so few Jones Act seamen realize that they have rights even if they have a land injury. The common misconception is that only injuries that happen on a vessel or rig can be considered for a Jones Act claim. This simply isn’t true.
If you qualify as a Jones Act Seaman, then you’re covered for land injuries and offshore injuries. The real question is whether you qualify as a Jones Act seaman. To be a Jones Act seaman, you must spend 30 percent or more of your time assigned to a vessel or fleet of vessels. You also must contribute substantially to the mission of the vessel or rig.
So this means that even if you are injured when traveling from job to job and nowhere near a rig or vessel, you can still receive Jones Act benefits. Location of injury will not prevent you from receiving the help that you deserve.
Unfortunately, many injured workers never discover that they can receive compensation for their injuries. The Jones Act was established to protect those workers and secure their futures, yet the very same workers never know that there is help to be had.
You, however, are not one of those offshore workers who have no inkling of their rights. You are one step ahead in the process. We encourage you to continue researching and learning about your rights as a Jones Act seaman. If and/or when you decide that you want to file a Jones Act case and need a Jones Act attorney, we will be here to help.
Call us if you have any questions at all about the Jones Act, whether or not it applies to your situation, and particularly the protections that the Jones Act gives you. Our maritime attorneys are very knowledgable and can help you unravel the complexities of the Jones Act.