In order to have a claim for workplace injuries under the Jones Act, an employee must qualify as a “seaman.” There are three main requirements that an employee must meet to be considered a Jones Act seaman.
First, the employee must be assigned to a particular vessel or fleet of vessels. This means that the employee must work on a particular boat, barge, or other watercraft, or work on a fleet of such vessels that are under common ownership.
Second, the vessel must be in navigation. Generally, this means that the vessel is not permanently docked somewhere or permanently connected to the land. For example, a casino boat that is permanently moored to a dock would not be considered to be “in navigation.”
Third, the employee must have a “substantial connection” to the vessel. An employee does not have to be on the vessel 100% of the time that they are on the job in order to have a substantial connection. Rather, the employee must spend a substantial amount of time on the vessel and somehow contribute the function of the vessel. Generally, if an employee spends less than 30% of their time on the vessel, they will not have a substantial connection.
If you are curious about whether you qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, or have any other questions, please contact our office any time.