Maritime Legislation that Protects You

Ship, boat and other marine vessel/harbor workers are entitled to certain protections. If you’re employed at sea, and you suffer harm while doing your professional responsibilities, the chances are that you’ll be capable of holding your employer accountable in the case of negligence.

Various regulations and statutes define the rights and protections that workers are entitled to. Here are the most important things to keep in mind.

The Jones Act

One of the most important bills when it comes to the protection of seamen is the Jones Act. It was enacted back in 1920, and it gives seamen who experience injuries while doing their job a reason to file a negligence lawsuit against their employer or the vessel owner.

Under the act, professionals that work on navigable vessels should be provided with safe working conditions. This means they need the right training, support from the rest of the crew and functioning equipment. The absence of any of these conditions that lead to an injury could entitle a seaman to financial compensation.

Prior to the enactment of the Act, sailors had limited rights, regardless of the fact that they work in rather harsh conditions. Whenever an injury occurred, whether resulting from the actions/inaction of the captain or the rest of the crew, the sailor couldn’t hope for the provision of a compensatory sum.

Under general maritime law, sailors are entitled to solely maintenance and cure in the case of an accident. The term refers to a daily allowance that a sailor receives while they’re undergoing treatment. This sum is usually provided to cover household expenses. Cure refers to the amount that an employer pays to cover the treatment and the rehabilitation of the injured party.

Jones Act has increased the scope of the compensation, making it possible for injured seamen to collect additional damages.

Under other regulations, workers who are harmed in their line of work have to prove that negligence is the primary contributing factor. The Act is different because its primary purpose is to protect the most vulnerable members of crews working on ships and other vessels. It will be sufficient to demonstrate that negligence has contributed (even marginally) to harm for a crew member to have a valid case against their employer.

Other Laws Protecting Maritime Workers

Several additional statutes have been enacted through the years to protect vessel workers.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is one such program. Under LHWCA, compensation is to be provided in the case of injuries and death that occur in the navigable waters of the US.

This statute offers coverage to port, dock, terminal and offshore drilling platform workers. Many of these individuals are not entitled to coverage under the Jones Act because they do not satisfy the seamen requirements.

LHCWA was enacted in 1927, and it envisions the provision of medical care assistance, income benefits and death benefits to workers. Temporary disability benefits are also enabled to individuals who suffer permanent injuries and are incapable of working. The disability payment will be for life, and it may be either a total or a partial one.

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) is also an important statute.

Under OCSLA, individuals who work on offshore platforms and other fixed structures at sea are entitled to compensations, as well. The act is an extension of LHCWA, and it was enacted in 1953. Under this statute, coverage is available to individuals working on oil rigs and platforms, ship builders and repair professionals, harbor workers, longshoremen and dock men.

OCSLA envisions the provision of medical coverage, disability benefits, and death benefits. Rehabilitation and retraining benefits may also be available to the workers who sustain a permanent injury and are incapable of going back to their previous position.

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