Skip to main content

Jones Act vs. Longshoreman’s Act vs. Worker’s Compensation

Workers in the maritime industry who get hurt on the job face a different process than land-based workers when it comes to getting compensation for their injuries. Let’s take a closer look at the differences.

Most land-based workers are covered through a state’s workers’ compensation system—their employers pay for workers’ comp insurance. When an employee is injured, the workers’ comp pays for medical costs and disability. You simply need to show that you were injured during the course of your job, and it doesn’t matter whether your employer was to blame.

A different system, known as the Jones Act, covers workers who do at least 30% of their work on seafaring vessels. But unlike workers’ comp, an injured worker must prove that someone else (their employer, a co-worker, etc.) was at least partly to blame for the accident. The Jones Act also allows injured workers to file a lawsuit for additional compensation, including loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and future medical bills resulting from the injury. In some cases, you can also sue for payments to cover rent, mortgage and food.

Some maritime workers are covered under yet a different Act—The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This applies to workers who are considered maritime workers even though the work on land—such as a dock worker, shipbuilder, etc. The Longshore Act is administered by the federal government and—like workers’ comp—provides no-fault wage replacement and medical benefits.

There are big differences among all three systems, and even the courts have had some difficulty determining who qualifies under which. So don’t file the wrong claim! Get expert advice and guidance from the team at The Cochran Firm Mid-South. Call 901-523-1222 today for a free consultation.