The Jones Act includes a set of protections for maritime workers. If you or your loved one was injured while working aboard a ‘vessel,’ you may be entitled to financial compensation under the law. This raises an important legal question: What counts as a vessel for the purposes of the Jones Act? The brief answer is that a vessel is almost any type of boat or ship. Below, our Texas Jones Act attorneys provide a more comprehensive explanation of what counts as a vessel under federal law/
What is a Vessel Under the Jones Act?
The Jones Act provides broad legal protections to seamen. It is an important federal law because some maritime workers fall outside of traditional workers’ compensation insurance coverage. As noted above, the law defines the term vessel to cover almost every type of seafaring watercraft. Some specific examples of ships/boats that qualify as vessel under the Jones Act include the following:
- Cruise ships;
- Charter passenger boats;
- Motor vehicle and passenger ferries;
- Casino ships;
- Dive boats;
- Commercial fishing boats;
- Cargo ships;
- Container ships;
- Dredging ships;
- Barges and tugboats;
- Oil drilling ships;
- Oil rigs (tankers); and
- Other commercial and industrial boats.
Notably, a boat or a ship must be in navigation to qualify as a vessel for the purposes of the Jones Act. In other words, it must be afloat, capable of moving, and on navigable waters. If a key element is not met, then a seaman is not covered by the Jones Act. Some of those terms have their own complicated meanings. For example, the Jones Act defines navigable waters to be any waterway capable of being used for interstate/foreign commerce.
Four Steps to Protect Your Rights if You are Injured on a Vessel
Following an accident aboard a boat or ship, it is imperative that injured seamen take immediate action to protect their health, well-being, and ability to bring a successful legal claim. Here are four specific steps to take if you or your loved one is harmed while working on a vessel in or around the Gulf of Mexico:
- Seek immediate medical attention from a qualified doctor ;
- Report your injury to your employer;
- Document the accident to the best of your ability; and
- Speak to an experienced maritime injury lawyer.
Jones Act claims are complicated. While federal law provides important legal protections to maritime employees injured aboard a vessel, employers and insurance companies are aggressively in defending claims. A top-rated Jones Act injury attorney will help you maximize your financial recovery.
Contact Our Houston, TX Jones Act Lawyer for a Free Consultation
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Houston maritime law attorneys have deep experience bringing claims under the Jones Act. We are here to get you justice and accountability. If you have any questions about what constitutes a vessel, our lawyers are here to help. Contact our firm now for a free initial consultation. With a law office in Houston, we are qualified to handle Jones Act claims throughout the State of Texas.