Maritime workers, such as fishermen, offshore oil workers, and shipping employees, who are injured while working on the water are not entitled to the same traditional Workers’ Compensation benefits that cover land-based employees. Maritime law applies when it comes to sea-trade, work-related issues. Under maritime law, many maritime workers are covered by the Jones Act, which pertains to on-the-job injuries to seamen. That is not true for all maritime workers, however.
Who is Covered Under the Jones Act?
Not all maritime worker injuries are covered under the Jones Act. For some, other maritime laws apply. The job position and type of work performed will determine if the Jones Act applies or if some other element of maritime law should be used. In order to be considered eligible for protections under the Jones Act, seamen must spend a minimum of 30 percent of their working service aboard a seafaring vessel. The work performed may pertain to services aboard waterborne vessels whether in an operational or maintenance capacity. Longshoremen and harbor workers are not covered under the Jones Act, as their work predominantly takes place on land, not on the sea vessel.
What is the Jones Act?
Part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones Act deals with coastline trade, or the trade between ports along the same coast without crossing an ocean. The law applies to U.S. waters and defines many of the rights that apply to seamen and other coastal trade workers. Using existing law protecting railway workers as a model, the enactment of the Jones Act allowed maritime workers to make claims against their employers and to seek damages. The Jones Act also imposes a three-year statute of limitations from the time of injury to file a claim.
What Should I Do If I Am Injured on a Maritime Vessel?
If you have been injured on the job while working on an ocean-borne vessel, you have rights. The laws that apply to your situation are not as clear-cut as many land-based protections, but before you accept a settlement for your injuries, you should understand the worker protections the law provides in your situation. Employers and their lawyers are aware of how intricate and specific the laws are regarding maritime work injury compensation. It is in your best interest to enlist the help of a maritime lawyer.
Cape May Maritime Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Represent Injured Maritime Workers
If you were seriously hurt while working on the water, the Cape May maritime injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. can help you obtain compensation for your injuries and lost income. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 888-999-1962. With offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Cape May and Wildwood.