The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) are federal laws that protect and/or provide benefits for injured maritime workers. Each set of laws functions in a unique way and covers a distinct type of maritime worker. It is very important to understand the differences between the Jones Act and the LHWCA to determine which federal laws cover an injured worker.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act is a federal maritime law that covers workers who are injured on sea going vessels on navigable waters and offshore facilities that are not permanently affixed to the ocean floor. The Jones Act covers vessel captains and crew members. Generally, a worker who spends 30% or more work time on a vessel or group of vessels in navigation and under common ownership qualifies as a Jones Act seaman.
Employers must provide a safe working environment for seamen. If you are a seaman who is injured as a result of your employer failing to fulfill that obligation, you have a right to bring a negligence claim against your employer Under the Jones Act. However, unlike the LWHCA, a seaman must prove negligence or fault on the part of his or her employer, vessel operators, officers, and/or fellow crewmember to obtain compensation.
Settlements and damage awards under the Jones Act are often larger than settlements and/or awards under the LHWCA.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal statute that provides benefits for longshoreman, harbor workers, and shipbuilders who are injured on the navigable waters of the United States, including any adjoining pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal, or other adjoining area used in loading, unloading, repairing, or building activities. Essentially, the LHWCA is a non-fault workers’ compensation claim Congress gave to non-seaman maritime workers.
The LHWCA is administered by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, and through the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ)
Jones Act and LWCHA Attorneys
The Jones Act and LHWCA are complex federal laws. In order to determine what laws apply to you, you should consult with a maritime attorney. The lawyers at The Lambert Firm have been handling Jones Act and LHWCA cases for years and know the ins and outs of maritime claims. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact us today to discuss your legal options.