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Comparison of Maritime Laws

Accidents that occur to mariners, seamen, and offshore oil rig workers can often lead to critical, life-threatening injuries. Many of these victims are not covered under traditional workers’ compensation statutes and other personal injury claims. However, these injuries do fall within the federal Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act which help provide relief to workers as federal workers’ compensation acts. These two Acts offer different types of recovery and different methods to receive recovery amounts. . Therefore, if you have received an injury while working offshore, do not hesitate to contact an experienced maritime attorney to determine which Act is most beneficial for your situation.

Jones Act

Under the Jones Act, a worker injured on the job can recover damages from the ship owner, ship captain, or other workers onboard the ship if their actions caused the injured worker’s injuries. While the Jones Act was originally written in 1920 to cover only merchant seamen when written, the scope of the Act has since expanded to further protect oil rig workers, water ferry operators, and shrimp boat fishermen. The Jones Act requires workers to file a lawsuit in court rather than simply file a claim. Therefore, a worker must be able to prove that negligence occurred and that this negligence resulted in the worker’s injury. While this may be a harder burden to prove than ordinary workers’ compensation claims, this additionally allows workers to receive compensation that extends beyond ordinary financial claims, and therefore covers other damages such as pain and suffering.

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The LHWCA is similar to the Jones Act, although provides a federal workers’ compensation type of recovery. Therefore, injured maritime workers file a claim with the U.S. Department of Labor, rather than filing a lawsuit in court. Injuries which fall within the Jones Act are not covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Workers must meet two tests to qualify for relief under the LHWCA – the status test and the situs test. A worker must be actively performing maritime duties to meet the status test. These duties can include anything from shipbuilding to loading and unloading of vessels, and even include drivers of trucks who take goods away from ships. However, these workers must be exclusively involved in maritime work in order to qualify for protection under LHWCA. Workers meet the situs test by working on, near, or adjacent to navigable water, such as on the water or on piers and terminals. The LHWCA limits the amount of recovery to the financial impact of the injured worker, such as hospital bills and lost wages.

Malley Law Firm | Houston Maritime Lawyer

If you have been injured in any type of maritime accident, you have several options open to claim benefits for your injuries. Tony Malley has years of experience in assisting his clients in receiving benefits under both the Jones Act and the LHWCA. Contact the Malley Law Firm today at either our Beaumont or Houston locations to set up your free initial consultation.

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