WHO IS A JONES ACT SEAMAN? To qualify for seaman status, three requirements must be met: (1) employee must contribute to the work of a vessel, (2) employee must have an employment connection to the vessel that is substantial both in duration and nature and (3) vessel must be in navigation.
WHAT IS A VESSEL? Vessel includes every description of watercraft or artificial contrivance use, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water. Some examples of vessels include (1) floating, mobile cleaning barges (2) mobile, floating drilling platforms (3) mobile, semi-submersible deep-water drilling platforms (4) floating production storage and offloading units (FPSOs).
WHAT DUTY OF CARE IS OWED BY EMPLOYERS UNDER THE JONES ACT? An employer does not have to guarantee the safety of seamen; however, the employer is liable for any injury arising in whole or in part from the negligence of any officers, agents, or employees of the employer, or by reason of any defects or insufficiency of equipment due to negligence of the employer. Under the Jones Act, an employer has a general duty to provide a reasonably safe place to work and reasonably safe tools and equipment. Seamen are considered wards of admiralty and generally speaking, laws relating to seamen are interpreted liberally in favor of seamen.
WHAT IS UNSEAWORTHINESS? The vessel and its operator owe a seaman assigned to the vessel the duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. If the duty is breached, the vessel and its operator are liable for the related resulting injury. The seaman can recover for related loss of income, medical expenses, and suffering and compensation for disability.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF AM INJURED? Report the injury to your employer, take photographs of the accident scene, seek medical attention, and get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses. If you have any questions concerning your Louisiana Maritime or Jones Act case, call me at 866-289-2802 or submit your inquiry online. Please be advised that you may be facing important legal deadlines, so don’t delay.