A court has ruled that an iron worker, who was injured in an accident when the crew boat that he was traveling in along with his colleague, hit a survey tower, qualifies as a seaman under the Jones Act. On the day of the accident, the man Jacob Kinchen and his colleague Larry Abshire, both iron workers, were on their way to the worksite. They were working on the construction of a bridge. As they were traveling back from the worksite to shore at the end of a working day, their boat collided with a survey tower. At the time of the accident, Kinchen was operating the boat. He was not a licensed captain. Both the men claimed that they were seamen under the Jones Act, and were therefore entitled to file a claim under the Jones Act. Under the Jones Act, a seaman should be able to fulfill three criteria-he should be assigned to a vessel or a fleet of vessels, the vessel should be in navigation, and the seaman should have a substantial relationship with the vessel. The two workers argued that they had a substantial relationship with the vessel because they contributed to the work of the vessel, and spent most of their time on the vessel. However, their employer Boh Bros claimed that the two were not Jones Act seamen, but longshoremen. Besides, the two had been assigned to work on a bridge and not a specific vessel. Their duties resembled those of longshoremen and stevedores, and not those of seamen under the Jones Act. A court has found that Kinchen indeed qualified as a seaman under the Jones Act. However, Abshire's motion for partial summary judgment as to seaman status was denied. If you have been injured in a maritime accident, contact a maritime lawyer at my firm for a free evaluation of your case.
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