Unlike most workplace injuries, those that occur at sea or within the maritime setting are subject to special federal laws which outline maritime worker’s rights. If you are a seaman who has been injured on the job, please contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.
Maritime Workers’ Rights | Jones Act
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, allows seamen to bring lawsuits against their employers for injuries sustained on the job. The law allows seamen and sailors to bring legal action against their employers when injured due to negligence. They can also seek damages from the captain or fellow crewmembers, or from the owner of the vessel if it is deemed to be unseaworthy. The statute of limitations to bring forward an injury claim under the Jones Act is three years from the date of the accident. The Supreme Court set a benchmark in 1995 stating that you must spend at least 30% of your time aboard a boat on navigable waters to qualify as a “seaman.” Only seamen are eligible to seek compensation under the Jones Act.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is the federal law that outlines the workers’ compensation legal framework for maritime workers injured on the job. This statute can often apply in situations not covered by the Jones Act. Enacted in 1927, the law allows maritime workers who may not be classified as seamen—such as longshoremen and dock workers—to recover compensation when injured on the job. In 1972, the Longshore Act was amended to extend coverage landward for maritime accidents. Workers injured in a forklift, crane, or oilfield accident may be able to seek compensation under the LHWCA.
Maritime Workers’ Rights | Death on the High Seas Act
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is similar to a wrongful death claim in that it allows the spouse or family member of a seaman killed in international waters to seek compensation against the owner of the ship on which he or she died.
If you are a maritime worker who has been seriously injured on the job, please contact our experienced Houston offshore injury lawyer today to schedule a free consultation.