If you are a shipping company dealing with Jones Act claims, understanding your rights and duties are paramount. If one of your workers has sustained injury on the job, you must understand what that worker’s rights are.
Two pieces of law that often get cited concerning injured maritime workers are the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. According to the US Department of Labor, the Jones Act is applicable to “seamen” whereas the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act applies to a wider variety of workers.
What does the Jones Act do?
The Jones Act protects “seamen.” Generally speaking, this designation applies to workers who are primarily assigned to a vessel. A worker must spend at least 30 percent of his or her time on a vessel to be a “seaman.” In this case, a “vessel” could refer to an oil rig, a barge, or a shipping boat.
The Jones Act may apply if your worker experienced an injury due to the negligence of a coworker or the company itself. It may also apply if the vessel itself was unseaworthy, if this contributed to the injury.
What does the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act do?
This Act gives compensation to workers who do not fall under the provisions of the Jones Act, and may not be eligible for traditional workers’ compensation. This Act gives coverage to any worker on navigable waters or those who work in areas like docks, harbors, terminals and dry-dock facilities.
If the worker in question is not a “seaman” under the Jones Act but is a maritime worker, it is likely that the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act will apply.