Whether you’re working as a member of the crew of a ship or vessel, as a merchant mariner, or earning a living as an inland river worker, you may well be a “seaman” under state and federal law – and considered as a special type of worker.
Qualifying as “seaman” under the law
Injured workers hurt on the job have to look to standard on-the-job injury workers’ compensation laws unless they can show themselves legally to be a “seaman,” which is defined as a worker who spends at least 30% of his workday onboard either a specific vessel or a fleet of vessels under common ownership or control. If the worker cannot pass this test, then his injuries will be covered by state and federal on the job injury workers’ compensation laws, such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
As a seaman, the law provides you with three possible sources of damages or money compensation when you are hurt on the job: (1) the principle of maintenance and cure; (2) the doctrine of unseaworthiness; and (3) the Jones Act. The Jones Act allows injured seamen to sue the employer/ship-owner for personal injury and wrongful death damages, and incorporates the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), which governs injuries to railway workers.
Qualifying as a longshoreman
Injured workers hurt on the job while working on the docks may be covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act instead of the usual state workers’ compensation laws.
Administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, injured workers qualify for coverage under this act if they have “maritime employment.” Maritime employment includes such work as: loading vessels, unloading vessels, and building or repairing vessels. A maritime worker injured on a pier, wharf, dry dock, terminal or on the vessel itself can be compensated under the Act.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides medical and disability benefits as well as rehabilitation services. As with other compensation systems, the law substitutes an internal set of procedures as substitutions for the standard judicial system (trial).
How an injury lawyer can help you
It is extremely important to have a workers’ compensation lawyer with experience and knowledge of the specifics of both standard workers’ compensation statutes as well as the nuances and requirements of special worker protection acts, such as FELA, the Jones Act, and LHWCA. This is especially true if you are facing extreme situations after being hurt at work, such as suffering from an on the job injury and facing no money coming in or having your medical assistance being denied.
The Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland injury law firm of Kenneth J. Allen Law Group only handles accident and injury cases. The firm has extensive experience in representing employees who have been hurt at work and suffer from on the job injuries.
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If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed due to the wrongful acts of another, then you may have a legal claim for damages as well as the right to justice against the wrongdoer and you are welcomed to contact the Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland personal injury lawyers at Kenneth J. Allen Law Group to schedule a free initial legal consultation.