The Jones Act vs. the Longshore Act

Whether you are a California land-based maritime employee or working offshore, the risk of injury is considerable. As a result, having the right coverage in the event of an accident on the job is critical. At Russel Mirkovich & Morrow, we often handle claims for clients injured offshore.

According to The American Equity Underwriters, Inc, some employers do not understand the difference between the Jones Act and the Longshore Act, which can affect you if injured on the job. The Jones Act provides an avenue for claims to seamen or members of a vessel’s crew. The Longshore Act addresses coverage for land-based employees.

The coverage you need depends on your duties. If you contribute to the function of a vessel or in carrying out its mission and have a connection to a group of vessels under common ownership or navigation, you should have coverage under the Jones Act. If you are an employee engaged as a harbor worker of any kind or in longshoring operations, you should have coverage under the Longshore Act. A harbor worker includes shipbuilders, repairmen and those who load, unload or dismantle vessels. Coverage also extends to contractors.

Under the Jones Act, if injuries result due to an employer’s negligence, there is no government agency involvement. Claims for pain and suffering, wage loss, medical expenses and a broad range of other damages are similar to any other complaint filed in court. You als have the right to a jury trial. The U.S. Department of Labor administers the Longshore Act. Options include formal adjudication, informal dispute resolution services, administrative appeals and judicial review. There is generally prompt payment of medical treatment and wage replacement benefits.

Filing claims under one Act may affect your rights under the other, so it is critical that you understand which remedy benefits you the most. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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