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What types of ships and workers are covered by the Jones Act?

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is comprised of many different parts. One of the more remarkable ones is what's commonly known as the Jones Act. This piece of federal legislation places limits on the types of water vessels that can transport goods between two American ports. It also gives seamen certain rights to recover compensation for injuries that they suffer while working on a ship. You should know that not every water vessel is covered by the Jones Act though.

Water vessels must meet four different requirements to be covered by the Jones Act.

The ship must have been originally built or reconstructed here in the United States. The boat must also be registered here to be protected under the Jones Act.

At least 75% of its crew must be from here. This qualifying criteria even applies if the water vessel is owned by a U.S. company. At least 75% of the owners of the corporate entity must be U.S. citizens for the boat to be covered under the Jones Act.

This federal legislation applies to any boats engaged in commerce between ports in the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Alaska. Other similar pieces of legislation apply to the U.S.'s outlying territories including Guam. The main difference in those pieces of legislation and the Jones Act is that the former doesn't require water vessels to have been built in the U.S.

Working on a water vessel can be quite a strenuous job. It's no wonder that crew members often get hurt at sea. The Jones Act, fortunately, works much like workers' compensation coverage. It provides seamen with a way to get the medical care that they need when they're injured at no cost to them.

The Jones Act also provides a way for seamen who are hurt to recover lost wages and other types of compensation that they may also need.

If you've been injured while on the job at sea here in Louisiana and you're not sure where to turn, then an attorney can help. Your lawyer can let you know if your ship is a covered vessel and if so, whether you're eligible to receive any compensation for your injuries.

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