Most professionals in Florida have protection under workers’ compensation insurance if they get hurt on the job. They can make a claim for medical coverage and also disability benefits if they cannot work because of their injury. This process helps ensure that those who work for a living won’t face total indigence because of their employment.
Some of the workers most at risk in Florida don’t qualify for ordinary workers’ compensation benefits if they do get hurt. Longshoremen, harbor workers and professional fishermen are all at risk of getting hurt or even dying on the job. A different set of laws applies to workers in these fields when they suffer injuries.
What protects maritime, longshore and harbor workers from injuries or death on the job?
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
For the most part, workers’ compensation laws are particular to the states that enact them. Because the navigable waters of the United States are controlled by the federal government, rather than state governments, workers in some jobs were once not eligible for workers’ comp benefits. The LHWCA corrected that problem.
Most workers with jobs building, repairing, updating, or outfitting ships, as well as those loading and unloading cargo are covered by the LHWCA. Even workers who never actually work on navigable waters may be eligible for these benefits, depending on the work they do. The jobs covered under the LHWCA include a number of difficult, hazardous professions where the threat of serious injury is high. The Act is intended to protect all those workers by providing compensation for medical care, disability, vocational rehabilitation, and survivor’s benefits in the case of fatal accidents.
The LHWCA is complex piece of legislation. Legal guidance may be necessary to get you the proper compensation you deserve. At Munch and Munch, P.A., we have more than 40 years of combined experience helping injured longshoremen and harbor workers file claims for compensation.
The Jones Act can connect injured maritime workers with compensation
Ports, fishing and maritime shipping contribute substantially to the domestic economy. The workers who meet U.S. requirements for “seaman status” can use the Jones Act to seek protection after an injury.
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920. Section 27 or the Jones Act, as people often call it, establishes the right of injured maritime workers to file civil claims against employers for their losses related to their jobs. Surviving family members can potentially bring claims under the act for a workplace death as well.
Unlike workers’ compensation, Jones Act claims aren’t insurance-based but rather civil lawsuits. They require that a worker show that the company’s negligence or legal misconduct went to their injuries. If successful, the worker can potentially receive compensation for all of the losses they have suffered due to their employment.
Jones act claims are complex and lengthy
Although workers’ compensation claims can sometimes be as simple as signing a few pieces of paper with your manager, Jones Act claims are much more complex. You will need substantial evidence about the circumstances that led to the injury and the lasting consequences of the incident.
Learning more about the Jones Act can help you protect yourself when you work in a dangerous maritime profession or a loved one does.