Maritime or offshore employment can be quite lucrative. You may make far more than someone who performs the same job on land. The inconvenience of such work and the extra risk you have while working out on the ocean is part of the reason why maritime work often offers better pay.
From fishermen to oil and gas extraction professionals, there are many kinds of skilled workers who do their jobs in dangerous maritime environments. Unfortunately, these workers cannot count on the protection of standard workers’ compensation benefits if they get hurt on the job.
While many maritime and offshore professionals have a higher-than-average risk of injuries or workplace fatalities, the incidents do not occur in a specific state, so they or their surviving family members cannot claim workers’ compensation benefits.
What protects maritime workers and offshore employees from the medical expenses and lost wages they could suffer because of an injury on the job?
The Jones Act helps protect offshore workers from employment-related offices
For decades, federal law has helped provide financial protection for offshore and maritime workers. The Jones Act is part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, which regulates offshore companies operating near and headquartered in the United States.
Unlike workers’ compensation, which is a no-fault form of protection, Jones Act claims require that a worker show regulatory non-compliance, law-breaking or negligence on the part of their employer. If a company violates workplace safety laws or is negligent in its maintenance of safety gear or facilities, the affected worker could potentially file a civil claim against their employer.
They can receive coverage for their expenses and indemnity or maintenance benefits that will help replace the wages they lose because of their injury.
Jones Act claims require more help than workers’ compensation claims
Although even workers’ compensation often requires expert assistance, Jones Act claims are nearly impossible for the average maritime employee to handle on their own. A worker would need to understand not only complex federal law but decades of precedent in cases brought under the Jones Act.
If you believe that your employer is ultimately to blame for your recent injury on the job, then a civil claim may be the only way to recover the financial losses you and your family will suffer. Learning more about the protections available for offshore and maritime workers can help you cope with the lasting consequences of a job injury.