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Can I File for Workers Comp if I Live in North Carolina and Work Offshore?

Maritime Injuries Mar 24, 2021

If you live in North Carolina and work offshore, you probably are not eligible for benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation law. However, you may be eligible for other types of benefits. Two federal laws – the Jones Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) – protect offshore workers who get injured on the job. A maritime injury attorney can assess your rights under these laws and help you collect the benefits you deserve.

Understanding Your Rights as an Offshore Worker in North Carolina

Lots of North Carolina residents work offshore. Whether you fish for a living, run charters, work onboard a barge or dredge, or work onboard any other commercial vessel, if you are part of North Carolina’s maritime industry, you have clear legal rights.

Your Rights Under the Jones Act

For most offshore workers, these rights exist under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that applies to offshore workers who are not eligible for state workers’ compensation benefits. If you spend a substantial amount of each workday onboard a vessel “in navigation” (which can include a vessel tied up at a dock or mooring, as long as it is capable of moving), then there is a good chance that the Jones Act protects you.

Under the Jones Act, injured maritime workers in North Carolina can file three types of claims:

  • “No fault” claims for maintenance and cure benefits
  • Claims for full compensation based on “Jones Act negligence”
  • Claims for full compensation based on a vessel’s “unseaworthiness”

Your Rights Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

If you don’t qualify to file a claim under the Jones Act, then you may qualify for compensation under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). The OCSLA is another federal maritime law that applies specifically to offshore workers.

While the Jones Act applies to offshore employees who work onboard vessels “in navigation,” the OCSLA applies to employees who work on the subsoil or seabed of the outer continental shelf and on various types of fixed rigs and platforms. The outer continental shelf extends from the end of the state of North Carolina’s jurisdiction to 200 nautical miles offshore.

The OCLSA is different from the Jones Act in that it provides benefits that are more similar to those available under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation statute. Under the OCSLA, available benefits include:

  • Disability (wage replacement) benefits
  • Medical benefits
  • Rehabilitation and retraining benefits

These benefits are available on a “no fault” basis, similar to maintenance and cure under the Jones Act. However, the no-fault benefits available under the OCSLA are typically greater than those available under the Jones Act. In order to find out what type(s) of benefits you can recover, schedule a free consultation with maritime injury attorney David Willis today.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Maritime Injury Attorney David Willis

Are you entitled to compensation for your offshore accident? Find out from maritime injury attorney David Willis. Call 800-468-4878 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.

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