In order to receive protection under the Jones Act, as discussed in our last blog post, you have to prove a number of characteristics. Amongst them are that you’re a seaman, that the vessel on which you were injured was in navigation, that you contributed to the vessel’s work, and that you spent a significant amount of time aboard the vessel. Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, these matters can be more hotly contested than you’d imagine. As an example, let’s look at the requirement that the vessel be in navigation in order for you to be able to file a claim under the Jones Act.
What does it mean for a vessel to be in navigation?
This phrase may conjure images of a ship sailing out at sea, but you don’t have to go that far in proving that your case qualifies under the Jones Act. In fact, you only need to demonstrate that it was in the water, was in operation, and that it was capable of moving within navigable waters. That might sound simple enough to show, but you can run into problems if the vessel was dry-docked or in storage, or if it’s questionable that the waters upon which you were injured are foreign or interstate in nature.
You need a detailed approach to your Jones Act claim
The Jones Act is a nuanced law that very few attorneys are thoroughly familiar with. As a result, you can quickly put your claim at risk if you choose to have inadequate legal representation on your side.
For that reason, if you’ve been injured on board a vessel, then you should carefully research your representation options and consider choosing one that has demonstrated experience handling these types of maritime cases. Only then can you rest assured that your claim is in good hands and that the law will be appropriately applied to the facts of your case.