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Is My Longshore Claim Actually A Jones Act Claim?

The Jones Act was enacted to protect the merchant seaman who is injured on the job. But what is the definition of “seaman”? Over the years, that term has gradually expanded to include many workers who were not traditionally considered part of a ship’s crew.

Qualifying for the Jones Act is a good thing. In general, injured workers have stronger rights and better compensation under the Jones Act than under the Longshore Act or traditional workers’ comp. The  maritime law attorneys of Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C. have convinced claims examiners and juries that our clients should be covered by the Jones Act.

Not sure whether you qualify for the Jones Act? Arrange a free consultation today. We represent maritime and longshore workers in Tennessee, Kentucky and surrounding states.

Eligibility For Jones Act Claims

The federal Jones Act typically applies to crew members and officers who are assigned to a single vessel and spend the bulk of their time on the water. The Longshore and Harbor Workers Act (LHWCA) covers land-based dock workers who load and unload barges, as well as those who service boats and barges, and those involved in harbor construction.

But some workers straddle both worlds, such as:

  • A towing company “jack-of-all-trades” who splits time between river work and longshore work
  • A welder who spent considerable time fixing up a particular tug boat in the water
  • A fill-in worker who pieced together work on several vessels of the same fleet

Some courts use a 30% threshold — the person must work at least 30% of their time on the water to qualify for the Jones Act. But this is not a hard and fast rule. There are many other nuances, such as the nature of the work, the size of the vessel and whether it is considered to be “in navigation.”

Find Out Where You Stand

The skilled lawyers of Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C. have successfully stretched the definition of seaman to get individuals qualified for Jones Act coverage. Even if you are ultimately determined to be a longshore worker, our experienced representation can force employers and insurers to fully honor your rights and remedies under the LHWCA.

We invite you to fill out our online form or call us at 901-528-1702 or toll free 800-582-6213 to schedule a free initial consultation.