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Understanding compensation schemes for ship workers and seamen

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2023 | Boating Accidents

Worker’s compensation is what most employees can turn to for compensation if they are injured at work or contract an occupational illness. When it comes to ships, things are a little different.

Those working on or with boats may be able to claim under one of two main schemes depending on their connection to the vessel. It all depends on what they do in relation to the boats

The Jones Act

This is the main law protecting those who work on the boats when they are moving, namely the ships’ captains and crew.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWA)

The LHWA exists to protect those who work with boats in a non-sailing capacity. So if someone works in a shipyard building or repairing boats, or they load or unload boats in the harbor or wharf, this law is for them. 

What about those workers supporting shipping activities?

Picture a port and you’ll see there are plenty more people involved such as office workers, retail workers and marina workers.

These people wouldn’t usually get coverage under the Jones Act or LHWA. They’d need to claim through regular workers’ compensation insurance.

What about workers who have mixed duties?

Some people have a lot of variety in their job. Maybe they used to work more directly with the boats but moved into a more office-based role as they aged. Yet their wealth of experience means they might still be called upon to carry out more direct work from time to time. While they’d probably be eligible for worker’s compensation due to their regular role, they might want to investigate a claim under the Jones Act or LHWA which both offer better compensation.

Maritime law is a niche area and it’s wise to get help to learn more if someone is injured during ship-related work.