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Maritime workers who are injured while on the job are not covered by the traditional workers’ compensation insurance system that is found in the majority of other industries. Indeed, instead of workers’ compensation insurance, maritime workers are typically covered under the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Navigating these acts when you have been injured while working can be difficult, and calling an experienced maritime claims attorney should be a top priority.
Maritime workers are classified into two groups: seamen and non-seamen. Those who are considered to be seamen are covered under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that provides seamen who are injured at sea the right to file a negligence-based lawsuit against their employer in order to seek damages for harm sustained. Seamen who are injured may also seek damages based on the concept of “unseaworthiness,” which holds that a vessel is “unseaworthy” if it does not provide a seaman with a safe place to work.
The courts have established a two-prong test for determining who a seaman is. In order to be considered a seaman, and therefore able to seek damages after an injury under the law mentioned above, a worker must:
Not all maritime workers are seamen, and as such, not all are covered under the Jones Act. For those maritime workers who are not seamen, coverage under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is applicable. As explained in Section 903 of the act, compensation is payable when a worker suffers disability or death, but only when that disability or death occurs while upon navigable waters of the United States. Language continues to explain that “navigable waters” include wharfs, piers, terminals, docks, marine railways, and more.
The laws regarding coverage and benefits for maritime workers can be confusing. If you have been injured as a maritime worker, understanding which act applies to you and how to get the benefits you deserve is important. Further, understanding whether you will be entitled to no-fault benefits, or if you will have to prove employer negligence, is essential. These two types of cases are very different, and an injured worker who does not understand the difference may be at risk of a reduced benefit amount.
At the law offices of Hampton Injury Law, Attorney Jan Hoen is skilled in maritime injury claims and can competently represent you. If you’ve been injured, contact Jan Hoen today to schedule your free consultation.
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