The Jones Act & Maritime Law
Injuries that occur on the water are governed by different laws than those for injuries that occur on land. Maritime laws are complex, so you need a New Orleans maritime attorney specially trained in maritime law to represent you.
A skilled attorney will fully understand how Maritime Law and The Jones Act Law factor into building a case in your defense. Maritime Law, focuses more on where and what type of work took place. Whereas, The Jones Act Law, focuses more on the worksite and type of employment.
Maritime Law – The Longshore Act
Maritime laws, also referred to as admiralty laws, include rules and regulations specifically geared towards activities taking place on navigable waterways. They were written to protect ship workers and those working on offshore vessels.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is part of Maritime Law. It basically acts as workers’ compensation for longshoremen and harbor workers and other maritime employees, including most dockworkers and shipyard or shipping terminal workers. To be eligible for benefits, you must meet the “status” and “situs” tests.
The situs test deals with the location where the work is performed. Only those employees who work on or near navigable water receive coverage. The status test deals directly with the nature of the work you perform, which must contribute to the maritime nature of a business. Longshoremen and anyone who assists with the loading and unloading of vessels are eligible. Other workers typically eligible for benefits, include:
- Ship repairmen
- Dock workers
- Ship breakers
- Truck drivers/mechanics who move shipping container
- Ship builders
Workers not usually covered include ship captains and their crew (because they’re covered under the Jones Act), workers dealing with recreational vehicles and marina employees who mostly function in a secretarial capacity.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act is part of the Federal Employers Liability Act and covers a vessel’s crew. However, if the captain and crew embark on a joint venture in which they share rewards, the Jones Act no longer applies. Other crew members not covered under this act include volunteer or unpaid crew members.
Prior to this Act, seamen had limited recourse for compensation for injuries sustained aboard ship. Under The Jones Act, employers remain liable for crew members’ injuries, whether work-related or occurred while living aboard the vessel. Employers usually remain liable for any injuries caused by negligence.
This can include failure to:
- Maintain safe equipment
- Select a competent master and/or fellow crewmen
- Avoid heavy weather
- Provide medical treatment
Employers can also receive liability for injuries sustained by assaults from fellow crewmen, or due to requiring overtime or giving negligent orders, among others. Legal action must happen no more than three years from the date of the accident/injury.
Hire a Skilled New Orleans Maritime Attorney
Maritime law is a separate branch of law, so it’s essential you contact a New Orleans maritime attorney at Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys who’s familiar with this branch. Visit our office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., contact us via our online Live Chat or call us at (504) 345-1111 anytime day or night. Contact us today!
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.