If you work offshore, you know the risks that your job involves. You could be days away from medical help when you are at sea, and you may often be performing dangerous tasks such as welding, handling chemicals, and working from great heights.
Because of the unique set of risks and working conditions offshore workers and longshoremen face, these men and women are covered by a their own set of laws, including:
- Jones Act
- Maritime Law
- Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
These acts cover a variety of professions involving offshore and harbor work, and have very strict guidelines and restrictions determining coverage. Much like workers’ compensation laws that vary by state, these laws cover workers in the maritime industry on a federal level and are designed to compensate the injured worker for his medical care and lost wages.
The Jones Act: Protection for Injured Maritime Workers
The Jones Act of 1920 is a federal statute meant to protect and promote United States maritime commerce. If you are injured at sea due to employer or coworker negligence or a vessel’s unseaworthiness, you may be protected under the Jones Act. This means that you can file a Jones Act claim to cover your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to your injury. Under maritime law, this is referred to as maintenance and cure benefits: maintenance accounts for living expenses such as room and board, and cure covers all related medical expenses.
In order to qualify for coverage under the Jones Act, you must first be considered a seaman, which is reliant on these factors:
- You must have a substantial connection to a vessel or fleet
- Your duties must contribute to the operation, welfare, or mission of the vessel
- The vessel(s) must be in navigation (in operation on a navigable waterway)
What If I Am Not Covered by the Jones Act?
For offshore workers and longshoremen who do not qualify as seamen under the Jones Act, there are other laws that offer protection.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides protection similar to that of the Jones Act for men and women who are injured while working on navigable waters and adjoining shore installations such as wharves, dry docks, and shipyards.
- For those whose work involve developing and removing natural resources from the Outer Continental Shelf, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) offers coverage protection for many oil rig workers injured on the job.
Unlike a Jones Act claim, if you are filing for compensation under LHWCA or OCSLA, you do not need to prove negligence or unseaworthiness in order to receive benefits. Under these regulations, if you are injured at work offshore, you are typically entitled to receive benefits.
Do Not Navigate the Tricky Waters of an Offshore Injury Claim Alone
The success of your Jones Act or other offshore injury claim relies heavily on your attorney’s experience with and understanding of maritime law. At Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P., our offshore injury attorneys have extensive experience with maritime law, and are skilled negotiators and litigators who will not settle for less than you deserve. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Jones Act attorney today, call us at 1-855-947-0707.