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The Turley Law Firm P.C.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about the Jones Act, DBA, California workers’ compensation, or employment law. If you have more questions, contact us.

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  • How is a vessel defined under Jones Act law?

    Any American Owned Watercraft That Can be Used to Transport Goods or Passengers can be Considered a Jones Act Vessel.

    The Jones Act offers legal protection for maritime workers who are injured while in service to a Jones Act vessel. Among the most important of Jones Act protections is the right to directly sue an employer when injuries are caused by the employer’s negligence. Other workers do not have this right.

    To qualify as a Jones Act vessel, a vessel must be owned by an American individual or company.  For a maritime worker to be considered a Jones Act seaman, he must be the master or a member of a Jones Act vessel’s crew. How do you know if you work on a Jones Act vessel?

    There are many ways to work on the water. While it is easy to recognize a cruise ship or barge as being a vessel, it is harder to decide if an offshore drilling rig or floating dormitory meets that definition.   

    In 2005, the Supreme Court (Stewart v. Dutra Construction) determined that under the Jones Act, the definition of vessel may include “every description of Watercraft or other artificial contrivance used or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.”  This means that any watercraft that can be used to transport goods or passengers can be considered a Jones Act Vessel.

    Under this definition, it is easy to recognize cargo ships, supply boats, tankers, freighters, fishing boats, ferries, cruise ships, tugboats, and barges as vessels. But offshore drilling units, jack-up rigs, semi-submersible rigs, dredges, docks, and floating work platforms may also be considered vessels under some circumstances.

    The definition of a Jones Act vessel can be a deciding factor in determining the outcome of a Jones Act injury case. If you have any questions about whether you qualify for Jones Act protection, contact a California maritime lawyer.



    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call. 619-304-1000 


    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.

  • What is meant by the term “navigable waters” when discussing Jones Act Law?


    The Jones Act covers any maritime worker or employee who spends more than 30 percent of his time in the service of a Jones Act vessel on a navigable waterway. In the past, federal courts have interpreted the term “navigable waterways” to include almost any large body of water. The Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are considered navigable waterways, but so are California’s harbors, rivers and inland lakes.  


    Here is a list of navigable bodies of water in California:  

    • Pacific Ocean
    • San Francisco Bay
    • San Pedro Bay
    • Bodega Bay
    • Half Moon Bay
    • San Pablo Bay
    • Suisun Bay
    • Port of San Diego
    • Port of Los Angeles
    • Port of San Francisco
    • Port of Oakland
    • Port Hueneme
    • Port of Stockton
    • Port San Luis
    • Port of Redwood City
    • Port of Richmond
    • Port of West Sacramento
    • Port of Long Beach
    • Stockton Channel
    • Humboldt Bay Harbor
    • Oceanside Harbor
    • Newport Harbor
    • Santa Barbara Harbor
    • Morro Bay Harbor
    • Channel Islands Harbor
    • Dana Point Harbor
    • Avalon Harbor
    • Pillar Point Harbor
    • Santa Cruz Harbor
    • Moss Landing Harbor
    • Crescent City Harbor
    • Clipper Yacht Harbor
    • Marina del Rey Harbor
    • Ventura Harbor
    • Noyo Harbor
    • Wilmington Harbor
    • Santa Cruz
    • Alcatraz Wharf
    • Berkeley Marina
    • Sausalito Marina
    • Vallejo Marina
    • Porto Bodega Marina
    • Point Area Cove
    • Sacramento River
    • San Joaquin River
    • Colorado River
    • Klamath River
    • Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
    • Lake Tahoe
    • Mono Lake
    • Clear Lake
    • Lake Shasta
    • Lake Almanor
    • Lake Havasu
    • Lake Oroville
    • Trinity Lake
    • San Luis Reservoir

    Working on the water is very dangerous. Seamen face many of the same risks as land based workers: overexertion, repetitive motion injuries, slip-and-fall accidents, and dangers from falling objects. They also face unique risks. The Jones Act is a federal law that protects those who work on the water if they are injured while working. Unlike workers’ compensation, the Jones Act allows maritime workers to take action against negligent employers.

    If you have been injured while working on a passenger ship, cargo ship, oil tanker, tugboat, oil rig, fishing boat, barge, ferry, tour boat, or any other vessel that regularly travels the waters of California, you may be covered under Jones Act Law.  


  • What is California Workers' Compensation Salary Continuation?

    Salary Continuation

    Some California employers have plans that pay all your wages for all or part of the time you are temporarily disabled. These plans are called salary continuation. There are different kinds of salary continuation plans. Some salary continuation plans use your vacation and/or sick leave to supplement the TD payments required by California workers' compensation law.



    Standing Up For Your Rights

    We stand up to the workers' compensation insurance company that is trying to keep you from getting needed medical treatment and weekly compensation benefits.


    Call us today to find out more at 619-304-1000


  • Is there a Federal OSHA office in San Diego?


    The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened a new area office at 550 West C. St., Suite 970, in San Diego. This office supports OSHA's increased activity and strengthened enforcement in Southern California.

    The new area director of OSHA's San Diego office is Tom Carle, a safety engineer and a certified safety professional who has been with OSHA for more than 12 years. He has worked in OSHA's Bridgeport and Allentown, Pa., area offices. Prior to his selection for this position, he served as the assistant area director in Allentown.

    "With the brand new area office in San Diego, we will improve service to workers and employers in California and enhance our coordination and oversight with the state plan," said Ken Nishiyama Atha, OSHA's regional administrator in San Francisco, Calif. "This presence ultimately will ensure workers are better protected."

    Employers and workers with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's San Diego Area Office at 619-557-5030 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing an imminent danger to workers.


  • Can my first California workers compensation temporary disability payment be delayed?

    Delays in receiving California workers compensation checks are common in California. 

    If the claims administrator “says” they are having difficulty determining whether your injury is covered by workers' compensation, they may delay your first California temporary total disability (called TTD) payment while investigating your claim. The delay is typically no more than 90 days. The claims administrator must send you a delay letter if there is a delay. It must explain why you won't receive payments, what additional information the claims administrator needs and when a decision will be made. If there are further delays, the claims administrator must send you additional delay letters.



    What if I haven’t received a letter denying my claim?

    If the claims administrator doesn't send you a letter denying your claim within 90 days after you filed the claim form, your claim is considered accepted. If you don’t receive a temporary total disability check immediately after you are injured, you need to file for State Disability.  Or California SDI - State Disability Insurance. This isn’t welfare. Each week you have State Disability deducted from your check.   Be sure to apply as soon as possible.  You will need to have your doctor certify that you are unable to work.


    Third Party Cases

    California has some of the lowest and most unfair workers' compensation benefits in America. Because of this, you need to have your case reviewed to see if you have a viable third party work injury case. A third-party work injury case is civil a lawsuit where someone other than your employer is legally responsible for your injuries.


    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call at 619-304-1000


    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.