When a Texas worker is hurt during the course of their employment, they may have the right to seek compensation through different legal avenues. For some, litigation may be an option, but for many hurt individuals, workers’ compensation provides financial benefits during periods of recuperation. Workers’ compensation, though, does not apply to all workers.

In particular, workers who are considered part of the Merchant Marine are not eligible for workers’ compensation. Instead, they must pursue work-related compensation through the Jones Act. This post will address how a worker qualifies for compensation under the Jones Act but should not be read as legal advice.

What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act is a federal law that governs many maritime practices and rules. It is a source of protection for maritime workers who are hurt while doing their jobs. However, just working on a boat may not be enough for a worker to qualify as a maritime worker under the Jones Act.

Who is covered by the Jones Act?

The Jones Act and its protections do not apply to military personnel. It only applies to individuals employed in private commercial maritime operations, and then more narrowly to those who actually work on vessels in navigation. A worker must spend at least 30% of their work time on a vessel in navigation to be protected under the Jones Act, and the definition of “vessel in navigation” has a relatively broad scope.

Any workplace injury can be devastating, but maritime workers who get hurt while doing their jobs can face challenges due to their unique exclusion from workers’ compensation protections. Those who are in need of legal help to pursue compensation under the Jones Act can seek counsel from admiralty and maritime attorneys. This post should not be used as specific legal counsel and provides general information only.