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How do maritime workers get compensation for job injuries?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2023 | Maritime Injuries |

There are many unique professional opportunities in Louisiana. There is a significant industrial sector and plenty of people working in the hospitality industry as well. Many workers in these industries have very straightforward protections if they ever get hurt on the job. They can file a claim for workers’ compensation to cover their medical costs and disability benefits that replace a portion of their wages.

However, those who work in maritime environments, including fishermen, oil rig employees and tour boat employees, aren’t typically be eligible for standard Louisiana workers’ compensation coverage. Any injuries that occur in a maritime environment require a different type of process for those workers in need of healthcare coverage and disability pay.

The Jones Act protects offshore employees

The Maritime Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is an expansive law. Section 27, also known as the Jones Act, helped to create legal responsibility for businesses operating on the open ocean. Companies should prioritize worker safety whenever possible, which means providing training and safety equipment. Proper vessel maintenance and business practices that adjust to inclement weather are also crucial to limiting the number of worker injuries that occur in maritime environments.

If workers do get hurt while working on a boat, oil rig or other offshore location, they can potentially initiate litigation using the Jones Act. Workers have the right to seek maintenance and cure, which includes compensation for lost wages, medical bills and even their pain and suffering in scenarios where they can show that an employer’s negligence contributed to their injuries. Unlike workers’ compensation, Jones Act lawsuits can provide full reimbursement for lost wages.

Maintenance failures, improper safety practices and dangerous employment rules could all give workers the grounds they need to claim that an employer’s negligence contributed to their injury in an offshore environment. When successful, lawsuits brought under the Jones Act can diminish the financial burden created by an unsafe maritime work environment that caused a worker’s injury.

Learning about and making use of the systems in place to protect those in dangerous professions can take some of the risks out of offshore employment. Seeking legal guidance can help injured workers to take advantage of these systems whenever necessary.