The 30 Percent Rule For Seaman Status

MARCH 8, 2011 by Bill Abbott

New Orleans Jones Act lawyers who have litigated countless maritime injury cases are aware of the essential elements that are required to establish a viable claim for compensation benefits. The Jones Act was enacted by Congress to provide a simplified compensation program under the law for seamen who were injured while working aboard a vessel.

U.S. lawmakers recognized that the act of working aboard a ship was an inherently dangerous activity. Prior to the Jones Act, a seaman’s right to compensation was limited and often difficult to achieve under the general principles of maritime law. New Orleans Jones Act lawyers have been helping seamen and maritime workers secure compensation benefits for their injuries since the law was enacted.

New Orleans Jones Act lawyers look for several essential elements when assessing a maritime injury case. In order to be eligible to receive compensation benefits under the Jones Act, an injured employee must prove that he was a seaman on an eligible vessel and that his employer’s negligence caused his injury. However, in some cases that have been litigated by New Orleans Jones Act lawyers, questions have arose regarding who may be considered a “seaman” under the Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Chandris, Inc., v. Latsis, 515 U.S. 347 (1995), the “30 percent rule” could be used to determine whether or not a maritime worker’s job duties qualified him for seaman status. The 30 percent rule generally presumes that a “worker who spends less than 30 percent of his time in the service of a vessel should not qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act.” This rule benefits maritime workers by extending the compensation scheme provided by the Jones Act to workers who spend a portion of their time working on-shore as well as at sea.


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