The Jones Act Versus Workers’ Comp

If you have suffered a work-related injury, it is natural to consider filing for workers’ compensation. However, if you are a seaman, you may be covered under the Jones Act. What is the Jones Act? The Jones Act is a federal statute that regulates U.S. maritime commerce and also protects the rights of maritime workers. Part of the law gives workers the right to file claims if they have been injured while serving a vessel in or near navigable waters. By definition, a vessel can be a ship, barge, boat, mobile offshore drilling unit, cruise ship, helicopter or tug boat. Who is Covered by the Jones Act? The Jones Act protects any worker who is connected in some way to the navigation of any maritime vessel, including offshore drilling rigs. It is not even necessary for you to be on the vessel at the time of your injury. You may be covered even if you were injured while the vessel was docked. How can Workers’ Compensation Help You? Workers’ compensation is designed to help people who are injured while they are at work. Although the exact benefits vary by location, workers’ comp generally pays for your medical expenses and helps cover your lost wages. The benefits are paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation policy and may last until you have recovered and are able to return to your place of employment. In addition, workers’ compensation benefits may also be paid to the family members of an employee who is fatally injured on the job or who dies as a result of injuries sustained while working. However, in exchange for receiving these benefits, you may not be able to file for any additional form of compensation from your employer. In other words, you may have to waive your right to sue for damages. What are the Differences between the Jones Act and Workers’ Comp? The Jones Act only helps seamen who are injured while they are either on or near their vessels. Workers’ comp, on the other hand, is available for nearly any type of worker and is not related to the type of work being performed. As a seaman, you can apply for workers’ compensation if you are injured on the job. In addition, it does not matter how far away you are from the actual vessel when the injury occurs. However, the benefits you receive from workers’ comp claims are usually significantly less than the compensation you may receive under the Jones Act. The Jones Act allows you to be compensated for lost income, medical expenses and any additional pain and suffering that you endure as a result of your injury. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may also receive compensation for your inability to enjoy a normal life and any household services that you are no longer able to receive. In addition, you may not be able to receive an advance on your workers’ comp benefits, but under the Jones Act, you are usually able to receive an advance. Consult an Offshore Injury Lawyer If you are a seaman who has suffered a work-related injury, you may be eligible to receive compensation by filing a claim under the Jones Act. However, you may not be able to receive benefits if you have already applied for workers’ compensation. To fully understand your Jones Act legal rights, it is important to speak with an offshore injury lawyer as soon as possible. Jones Act attorneys will need to review your case and help you file a claim to get the benefits you deserve.