Maritime Worker Injuries and the Jones Act

Maritime Worker Injuries and the Jones Act

Maritime Worker Injuries and the Jones ActAre you a maritime worker who has been injured on the job? You may classify as a seaman or another type of maritime worker; but in either case, you may be entitled to certain compensation. These people are known to perform many tasks on the job like painting ship surfaces, maintaining and handling cargo equipment, and much more. The problem with this is that all of these things, like other jobs, can pose a risk when it comes to becoming injured. Some of the injuries that seamen and other maritime workers may sustain include:

  • Abrasions, bruises, and minor lacerations
  • Being injured by sharp and pointed objects
  • Being crushed by moving cargo
  • Getting caught in mooring lines or cargo handling lines
  • Falling down ladders
  • Being thrown overboard

Compensation For an Injured Seaman
Seamen are not entitled to your typical workers’ compensation benefits under state or federal law – but instead entitled to three separate types of compensation and damages under federal law. Here are those three types:

  • Negligence Under the Jones Act: The Jones Act is a federal law that gives seamen who were injured under employment the right to sue an employer. However, they must provide the seaman with a reasonably safe place to work and use ordinary care under the circumstances to maintain and keep the vessel on which the seaman works in a reasonably safe condition.
  • Unseaworthiness: This doesn’t mean that the vessel can’t sail or be navigated; it is unseaworthy if it does not provide the seaman with safe and suitable appliances with which to perform the work.
  • Maintenance and Cure: This requires a maritime employer to provide care for injured seamen regardless of whose fault the injury was. This can include expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes, food, and others.

What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
This is a federal workers’ compensation act that governs workers’ compensation for maritime employees, among other types of employees. It covers the majority of employees who work on or near the water and who are not seamen. This can include employees such as longshoremen, harbor workers, and other people who work on docks.

The Longshore Act varies significantly from general workers’ compensation. For instance, this act generally provides more compensation to the injured worker than most state workers’ compensation acts. Many workers’ compensation acts will only cover 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage, while Longshore covers a bit more. Another thing to keep in mind is that workers’ compensation does not provide compensation for workers who have a permanent partial disability, while the Longshore act does.

The Jones Act in California
California has some extremely busy ports, two of the busiest being San Pedro and Long Beach. Injuries occur to many of these seamen when they least expect it or when they are far from home. Many injuries sustained by these men include chains whipping across decks of ships, seamen losing limbs, and more. This is where the Jones Act comes into play to provide injured seamen with compensation for the negligence of others while employed in these somewhat dangerous jobs.

If you feel like you have a claim due to an injury sustained while working as a seaman, there are many options and routes you may decide to take. You can find out where you stand in a case by contacting a trusted attorney at WTW, located in California. Find out where you stand today!


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