Working in the maritime industry presents some unique dangers for employees, and with such, unique methods of resolving injury cases. Here is what maritime employees need to know about the key differences between the Jones Act and workers’ compensation. Understanding these differences could go a long way toward successfully resolving your injury case and getting the compensation you deserve.
Key Differences Between the Jones Act and Workers’ Compensation
Maritime workers who spend a great deal of time aboard a vessel are considered seamen. Under most state laws, seamen are not entitled to traditional workers’ compensation benefits like their non-maritime counterparts. Instead, seamen can file an injury claim under the Jones Act to obtain benefits if their employer was at fault for their injury.
Here is a breakdown so you can see the key differences between the Jones Act and workers’ compensation laws. Of course, there are similarities, but the goal of the Jones Act is to provide benefits specifically to workers in the maritime industry since maritime workers often cannot file workers’ compensation claims.
After reviewing the differences between the two, if you still have questions, contact the maritime injury attorneys at Brown & Brothers to learn more.
Every state has workers’ compensation laws for land-based employees. Workers’ compensation claims are not based on fault or responsibility, but are a generally guaranteed part of working in most businesses or industries. That means that accidents caused by negligence or pure accident are both covered by most workers’ compensation claims.
As a general rule, workers’ compensation covers medical expenses and disability benefits when applicable. Workers’ compensation is a standard coverage for most employees, but it is somewhat limited. For example, most injured workers will find that they do not qualify for workers’ compensation coverage unless they have been out of work for a period of a few days or longer.
Workers’ compensation also does not provide coverage for lost wages while out of work. In most cases, standard workers’ compensation coverage will not compensate workers for pain and suffering, future medical expenses, or injuries occurring on water. Workers’ compensation claims also remove the employee’s ability to sue for negligence in many cases.
The Jones Act
Unlike workers’ compensation, to file a claim under the Jones Act, the worker must be able to establish that his or her employer was at fault for the injury that occurred, or that another party (crew members, officers, etc.) was negligent. Seamen who can prove that their employer (or other party) was at least partially at fault for the injury are covered under the Jones Act.
One of the unique elements of claims under the Jones Act is that seamen can recover all lost wages and medical bills, regardless of how long he or she has been unable to work. That means that employees who have been out of work for even a short period of time are entitled to recover wages for that period as if they had not been out of work. Seamen who are covered under the Jones Act can also recover damages for pain and suffering, future lost wages, and disability benefits. The Jones Act does not cover any injuries that occurred on land, even if you are a seaman.
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, if you file a Jones Act injury claim, you may still have the right to sue your employer or another party for negligence, which could allow you to pursue additional recovery.
Learn More about the Key Differences Between the Jones Act and Workers’ Compensation
There are some definite similarities between the Jones Act and workers’ compensation claims. There are also some unique elements to each based on the type of employee you are classified as – maritime or land-based. Employees in the maritime industry should contact a maritime injury attorney to learn more about which types of benefits they may be eligible to pursue.
State laws vary, and every case has unique qualities. The best way to ensure that you get the compensation you need and deserve is to contact the maritime injury attorneys at Brown & Brothers. Our team is experienced in a wide variety of maritime injury cases, and we know what it takes to protect your legal rights and get benefits that will keep your family financially secure.
To schedule a free injury consultation, fill out our online form, or call us toll free at 1-877-363-6148.