Difference Between the Jones Act and the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

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When you are based on shore but work under contractors that provide services offshore you are considered to be a Longshoreman. You may be assigned on a different ship during your trip out, with each ship being owned by someone different. Because of this you cannot qualify for compensation under the Jones Act. But if you are stationed on one ship or a fleet of ships or vessels during your time out to sea and become injured you can seek compensation under the Jones Act.

Payments Vary Between the Two Laws

There are several differences between the Jones Act and the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. For one, the payment is different.  The payments under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act are determined under an administrative system filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.  However, under the Jones Act, you file a lawsuit in court and may receive an amount determined by a jury or judge.  Often the settlement under the Jones Act is much larger than those of workers’ compensation. If you file a compensation claim with the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act you may not be able to file a claim under the Jones Act.

The Jones Act allows more cash to be paid to the injured person or to the widow of a worker. The Jones Act will usually pay for hospitalization, lost wages, lodging to seek treatment, therapy, doctor visits, and for pain and suffering.

If you file a claim through the LHWCA you may only get the required amount offered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act which basically only offers enough to pay bills and only a small weekly amount for someone injured or to widows. If you are injured on a ship while working as a Longshoreman you do not have any other option but to file a claim under the LHWCA. When you file a claim under the LHWCA it doesn’t matter who is at fault or if there were negligence that caused your injury you will still receive the same payout. If you were hurt on the job due to an unsafe working condition on the ship you are assigned to then you can file a negligence action under the Longshoreman Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Getting More Out of Your Maritime Workers Compensation Claim

Some workers covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act may be able to file a lawsuit in addition to their workers compensation claim.  If the injury was caused by the negligence of a vessel or vessel owner then a longshoreman may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation in addition to his workers' compensation claim.  This is true even if the vessel owner is the employer.  Third party lawsuits for negligence are called 905b claims under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. 

If you are injured on a ship you need to find a lawyer that is experienced in Jones Act cases or in Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. You need the experience in order to help you win what you deserve. If you hire a lawyer without the experience you may not receive the compensation you are owed. Some companies do not want to pay after an injury. If this is the case you will be covered by the Jones Act if you are a seaman or the LHWCA if you are a Longshoreman.

There are several ways that a lawyer can get you the amount of money you are owed. If you have been injured and you want to see if you qualify for more compensation then you may want to contact a lawyer that regularly handles Maritime injury cases or the Jones Act.

Be sure to go to your meeting with a lawyer prepared. Take all the paperwork you have gathered since your injury. Your lawyer will want to know what he or she is dealing with and how much you have been compensated for so far, if any.

More info: For more information about the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, contact Doyle Raizner LLP

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