Whenever a worker in Louisiana or another state suffers an injury while working at a construction site, in an office or at another land-based place of employment, they may be entitled to benefits under the state workers' compensation statute. The worker files a workers' compensation claim, and the claim is approved or denied based on the specific facts at issue. But, what if a worker on a sea-going vessel suffers an injury while on the job in an offshore accident?
Is there a process for them to recover for their injuries? There is.
If the injury could be attributable to the negligence of the worker's employer, the Jones Act may apply. The Jones Act is federal legislation that offers crew members and officers on a vessel the right to sue their employers, if the crew member or officer was injured due to their employer's negligence.
In order for the Jones Act to apply, the injury must have occurred on a "vessel." This term has been given a fairly broad definition by the U.S. Supreme Court to ensure that most water-based modes of transportation will qualify.
The injury must have been suffered by a "seaman." A seaman is usually held to be any worker on a vessel whose work contributes to the functioning of the vessel.
Under the Jones Act, workers may be entitled to receive compensation for injuries suffered. This compensation can include lost earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering and more. An injured offshore worker would be well-advised to seek more information on the applicability of the Jones Act to their situation.