After an injury on the job, most employees count on workers’ compensation to help cover the costs of their medical bills and lost income. However, as a maritime employee, you are probably not eligible for these same benefits.
Fortunately, you may be able to seek compensation for your maritime injury through either the Jones Act or the Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Here is what you need to know about your eligibility.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act is a long-standing piece of legislation that governs many aspects of maritime law, including who can seek damages for injuries that occur while working on a sea vessel. Only seamen are eligible for compensation under this act. You are a seaman if you meet the following criteria:
- You work on a vessel capable of moving through navigable U.S. waters, otherwise known as a vessel in navigation
- You are a member of the vessel’s crew
- At least 30% of your work duties occur on the vessel in navigation
The Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The LHWCA covers many workers in the maritime industry who work on U.S. waters and areas intended for the loading, repairing and building of ships. People who do not meet the definition of a seaman under the Jones Act, including some longshoremen, harbor workers, offshore oil riggers and shipbuilders, may find that the LHWCA covers the medical expenses associated with their injury.
After a maritime injury, you will need to act quickly. Both the Jones Act and the LHWCA have statutes of limitation on the time you can file a claim.