Working aboard a vessel on the open water can present some unique challenges and potential hazards because of the distinctive environment.

When maritime workers are subject to on-the-job injuries, they often need the help of a Jones Act attorney to sort things out.

It can be a little confusing because people often refer to the Jones Act and Maritime Law as if they describe the same things and could be used interchangeably. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The Jones Act and Maritime Law are two completely different things.

Here’s what you need to know about each one of them.

What is Maritime Law?

Maritime Law, also sometimes referred to as Admiralty Law, is a set of laws that govern maritime businesses and nautical matters. Even private maritime businesses are subject to the Maritime Law that governs the economy of the sea. It covers people and contracts that are part of maritime activities on both domestic and international waters.

Maritime Law may cover contractual disputes, commerce activities, and shipping insurance. The scope of Maritime Law is very broad. It has jurisdiction over navigable waters even when maritime matters do not involve interstate commerce. This means that even recreational boats may be subject to Maritime Laws.

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What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act is a section of Maritime Law with a much smaller scope. It provides protection for maritime workers who may be injured on the job while working aboard a vessel. These protections are paramount to the worker’s compensation insurance that their land-based counterparts enjoy.

While the Jones Act does have a smaller scope than Maritime Law, it also provides protection for lots of different maritime workers. Everyone from a barber to a crew member and a hostess who works on the vessel may be eligible for Benefits under the Jones Act. The Jones Act does not cover contract workers but it does cover all W-2 employees, or seamen, who work aboard a vessel.

How to Know Which Law Applies

As earlier stated, the Jones Law does have a smaller scope, but it is also known as the protectionist law. Most of the time, you must meet a few requirements to be eligible for benefits under the Jones Act. First, you must work on a completed vessel that is able to travel navigable waters. Next, you must meet the qualifications of a seaman. A seaman is simply someone who works on the vessel. Lastly, you must contribute at least 30 percent of your work time to earning a living aboard a navigable vessel.

Call a Jones Act Attorney Today

If you or a loved one were injured on the job while working aboard a vessel, then call a Jones Act attorney today. You may be eligible for compensation for your workplace injury. A Jones Act attorney will listen to you and let you know if your workplace injury is covered under the Jones Act, or will possibly be covered under other sections of Maritime Law. They will fight for your rights and ensure the just compensation you’re due.