Qualifications of A Jones Act Seaman

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Qualifications of A Jones Act Seaman

Seaman are provided special legal protections in comparison to other maritime workers because of their exposure to the “perils of the sea.” Although the Jones Act grants a seaman a cause of action, “seaman” is not defined in the federal...

Seaman are provided special legal protections in comparison to other maritime workers because of their exposure to the “perils of the sea.” Although the Jones Act grants a seaman a cause of action, “seaman” is not defined in the federal statutes, leaving the courts to determine which maritime workers are entitled to this special protection.

Seaman Status

To determine whether you qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, you must determine if the you were employed on a qualified vessel and whether your work on the vessel was related to the navigation of the vessel. Basically, you must qualify as a member of the vessel’s crew.

The United States Supreme Court established the following two-part test to determine seaman status under the Jones Act, (i) the employee’s duties is required to contribute to the function of the vessel or the accomplishment of the vessel’s mission and (ii) a seaman is required to have a connection to a vessel in navigation (or an identifiable group of such vessels) substantial in terms of both duration and nature.



The purpose of the first element is to exclude individuals who do not perform the ship’s work in accordance with the Jones Act. However, the United States Supreme Court determined this threshold requirement is broad and generally, those who work at sea in service of a ship are eligible for seaman status.

The intent of the second element is to provide full effect of Congress’s purposes and separate sea-based maritime employees entitled to the benefits of the Jones Act protections from land-based workers, who only have a changing or sporadic connection with a vessel in navigation; the land-based worker is not regularly exposed to the perils of the sea.

Generally, if the employee shows he performed a significant part of his work on board the vessel whereupon he was injured with some degree of regularity and continuity, the test for seaman status is satisfied. Guidelines adopted by the United States Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals identified 30 percent as the minimal amount of time a worker needs to spend in service on a vessel as a seaman to qualify under the Jones Act. Furthermore, the duration of the worker’s connection to a vessel and the nature of his activities determine whether a maritime employee is a seaman.

If you believe you qualify as a Jones Act seaman, it is important that you contact an Jones Act Lawyer who understands how to protect your rights.  Contact Cueria Law Firm, LLC today for a free evaluation of your claim.


Baldwin v. Cleanblast, LLC, 158 So. 3d 270 (2015)

Armand v. Terral River Service, Inc., 158 So. 3d 61 (2014)

Freeman v. Intermoor, Inc. and/or Acteon US holding, Ltd., No. 2012 CA 1581 (2013).

Troglen v. Hydraulic Well Control, 149 So. 3d 972 (2014), No. 14-308.

Jones v. McCall, 105 So. 3d 810 (2012), No. CA 12-558

Reed v. Devon Energy Production Co., 14 So. 3d 545 (2012), No. 2012-CA-0544




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Awards & Honors

Attorney Brent Cueria founded the Cueria Law Firm, L.L.C. located in New Orleans, in order to focus on the representation of injured individuals, where his true passion is. Mr. Cueria uses his past experience to diligently advocate for the injured and disabled clients he now represents against the insurance companies.




  • $2,000,000

    Hotel Premises Liability Settlement

  • $1,500,000

    Automobile Accident Settlement

  • $1,250,000

    Tractor Trailer Injury

  • $475,000

    Jones Act Seaman Injured in Oil Spill

  • $475,000

    Jones Act Seaman Orthopedic Injury

  • $400,000

    Passenger in Truck Crash Trial

Positive Client Reviews

Brent is very professional and easy to work with. He made sure I was taken care of better than I expected. Very nice man and great team!
Kristin Marks
Kristin Marks
19:45 29 May 19
Mr. Brent Cueria does an amazing job! He was always available for any questions or concerns that I had. There was never a moment that he wouldn't take the time to help me out and keep me updated on the process of my case! A great attorney and an amazing guy!
Kevin Byrd
Kevin Byrd
15:59 08 May 19
Awesome caring firm that puts the clients needs first always. Brent was an exceptional lawyer and good person. I highly recommend Cueria Law Firm.
Cat D
Cat D
14:19 24 Apr 19
I had a good experience with this firm. The staff was professional and protected my personal interest. I would definitely recommend them.
Tameka Lewis
Tameka Lewis
22:35 07 Feb 19
Mr. Cueria was amazing, helped me beyond my expectations, they answer the phone and respond promptly to their clients. Very easy going, respectful, and professional.
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April Washington
21:59 10 Jan 19
Very nice reliable law firm... we really had good experience with him. And we are really thankful. I recommend him to everyone.
Salwan Ibrahimi
Salwan Ibrahimi
22:43 08 Nov 18
Mr. Brent is a great personal injury attorney as well as a caring attorney. He is always available to talk and answer all our questions. Mr. Brent does not take you on as just a client. He treats you like family.
Rashonda Matthews
Rashonda Matthews
17:11 01 Nov 18
The BEST in New Orleans!! I came into this office not knowing what would be the outcome of my case, and Brent assured me he got this! A big thanks to him and his staff for all your hard work!! I’m telling you if you need someone to represent he’s definitely the guy to call!! Love you guys! Until next time !😁
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Allison Johnson
15:40 11 Oct 18
Highly recommended!! He’s a very caring attorney!! Gets the job done!!
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Juju Giambe
21:14 22 Mar 18
Great experience. Very professional and personal at the same time. Highly recommended.
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Hortense Ambrose
17:33 05 Mar 18
Mr. Cueria is very professional and works hard to assure that you received the best of outcome possible. Mr. Cueria and his staffed worked diligintly to give me the best settlement possible. I was very satisfied. -
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This was my first experience ever having a lawyer and I was very grateful and it was very pleasant. Everything worked out for the best and I would definitely recommend Brent.
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Lionel Vicknair
16:06 07 Dec 17

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