Jones Act Info for Florida Offshore or Dockside Workers

Jones Act Apr 9, 2021

If you work offshore or dockside in Florida and you have been injured on the job, you need to be very careful to protect your legal rights. Here is an overview of what you need to know and how an experienced Florida maritime injury lawyer can help you seek just compensation:

Who is Covered by the Jones Act?

The Jones Act covers anyone who is a permanent or significant worker on a vessel, such as a crew member. It provides maintenance and cure benefits to “seamen” who suffer work-related injuries, and it provides additional compensation to those who are injured due to their employers’ negligence or a vessel’s unseaworthiness.

The Jones Act does not cover employees who only work on vessels temporarily, such as harbor workers. However, harbor workers may be eligible for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).

What is a “Vessel?”

Under the Jones Act, a “vessel” is any type of professional or personal watercraft. This includes recreational boats, barges, cargo ships, tanker ships, cruise ships, and tugboats, among many others. Fixed platforms on the water are not considered vessels under the Jones Act, but individuals who work on fixed platforms may be able to file claims under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).

What Does “Unseaworthy” Mean?

A vessel may be considered “unseaworthy” if it is physically defective or is not properly equipped—lacking life jackets or first aid kits, for example. A vessel may also be considered unseaworthy if it is staffed with an improperly or insufficiently trained crew.

What if an Unsafe Vessel Caused My Injuries?

If your injuries were caused by an “unseaworthy” vessel, you can file an unseaworthiness claim against the owner and/or the operator of the vessel.

What if My Injury was in the Form of an Illness Due to Chemical Inhalation or Exposure to Other Harmful Materials?

If your injury was due to chemical inhalation or exposure, it is covered under the Jones Act just like any other type of job-related injury.

If Your Employer Contests Your Jones Act Claim, Speak to a Florida Maritime Injury Lawyer

If your employer contests your Jones Act claim, your best option is to contact a Florida maritime injury lawyer at Willis Law Firm to defend your rights and collect the financial compensation to which you are legally entitled.

Are Dockside Workers’ Injuries Covered Under the Jones Act?

Not in most cases. Typical dockside workers are not permanently attached to any particular vessel and thus do not qualify as “seamen” under the Jones Act. However, dockside workers and other dockworkers (such as harbor construction workers, boating repair workers, and shipbuilders) often have other legal options available, including filing for benefits under the LHWCA.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Florida Maritime Injury Lawyer

Were you injured on the job? If so, you should consult with a Florida maritime injury lawyer promptly. To schedule a free and confidential consultation at Willis Law Firm, call 800-468-4878 or contact us online today.

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