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Things to know if you work on a rig, ship, dock, or anywhere else near the water

March 1, 2011 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

Payment for injuries
Jobs on the high seas, oceans, rivers, lakes, and other navigable waters are some of the most dangerous in the world. Traditional state worker’s compensation laws do not generally apply to those who are injured on the navigable waters and oceans. Congress has passed several laws over the years to address concerns that these workers were not being treated fairly in regards to their injuries.

Maritime workers who are injured in the course of employment, whether they be captains, deckhands, roughnecks, roustabouts, or any of the many people working at sea may be entitled to compensation under several different federal laws. No matter if you are injured fishing out of Intracoastal City, working on a Caribbean cruise liner, constructing coast guard vessels in Lockport, loading a cargo ship at Barbours Cut Terminal, or working on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the following laws may provide protection and compensation for damages:

Jones Act
The Jones Act entitles workers to compensation for injuries sustained while working aboard a floating vessel. Under the Jones Act, those injured may be entitled to wages, medical treatment, payment for room and board, and possibly more. The Jones Act specifically protects a category of workers called “seamen.”; a “seaman” is someone who spends a substantial amount of time aboard a vessel at sea.

Death on the High Seas Act
The Death on the High Seas Act allows the spouse, children, or other dependents of a deceased worker to file for benefits and receive financial reimbursement if their loved one is lost on the high seas due to the wrong doing of an employer. Before these protections existed, wives, husbands, children, and other dependents were unable to receive any compensation for their loss. The act allows appropriate family members to collect money for funeral costs and for income lost due to the death of their loved one.

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act provides redress for injuries for the dock loaders, mechanics, welders, or many of the other people that work on our nation’s shipyards, docks, wharfs, and piers. Before this Act, longshore and harbor workers were not universally covered by any compensation scheme. Neither State nor Federal laws fully protected these workers if they were injured on the job. The Act passed in 1927 and was the first comprehensive workers compensation scheme that protected longshore and harbor workers.

Important Information
Each law has its own hurdles that must be carefully met in order to claim a money reward for damages. It is important that a worker give notice of an injury within a short period of time or risk losing out on compensation. In order to ensure proper handling of a claim, it is best to consult with an experienced maritime attorney immediately.

Contact the attorneys at Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P. immediately to make sure your legal rights are protected. The attorneys at Fleming | Nolen | Jez, L.L.P. will fight to ensure that you and your family receive all of the compensation you deserve.