Houston Jones Act LawyersWe are often asked, “Who is a seaman under the Jones Act?” Because maritime law is one of the most complicated areas of legal practice, the following criterion are by no means exhaustive. That said, if your maritime personal injury meets the following qualifications, then you may be considered a seaman under the Jones Act, and, therefore, eligible to file a claim.

Although the Jones Act itself does not define a seaman, the United States Supreme Court stated in Harbor Tug and Barge Company v. Papai (1997) and in Chandris v. Latsis (1995) that:

“[T]he essential requirements for seaman status are twofold. First . . . an employee’s duties must contribute to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission. . . .” Second, and most important for our purposes here, a seaman must have a connection to a vessel in navigation (or to an identifiable group of such vessels) that is substantial in terms of both its duration and its nature. 515 U.S., at 368 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

More simply put, a seaman is a sailor who meets the following qualifications:

a) A seaman works on a vessel in navigable waters.

Generally speaking, navigable waters are those by which a vessel can reach (1) the ocean or (2) another state in the United States.

b) A seaman works on a vessel not permanently attached to the floor of navigable waters.

These vessels include barges, oil/petroleum tanker injuries, oil drilling ships, freighters/cargo ships, tug boats, cruise ships, and riverboats. The Jones Act also protects a seaman who services and labors on these ships while they are in the harbor.

c) A seaman is assigned to a particular vessel or fleet.

d) A seaman has worked on board such vessels for at least 30% of his/her careers.

Any seaman who plans to file a claim under the Jones Act will undoubtedly need to demonstrate that he/she has, in fact, met this requirement.

When Should A Seaman File A Jones Act Claim?

If a seaman meets the following basic criterion, then he or she may have grounds to file a claim under the Jones Act:

1) The Jones Act applies to a seaman who suffers personal injury on-the-job.

The Jones Act does not cover injuries sustained by a seaman who is off duty.

2) The Jones Act applies to a seaman who suffers personal injury on the job due to the negligence of another.

The Jones Act covers personal injuries sustained due to the negligence of ship owners or captains, thereby resulting in the unseaworthiness of a vessel, or the negligence of other crew members.

Who Is A Seaman Under the Jones Act (In Short)?

In short, then, “Who is a seaman under the Jones Act?” For the purposes of Jones Act law, the Supreme Court of the United States says that a seaman is a person who meets the aforementioned criterion.