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What Are My Rights as an Offshore or Maritime Worker in New York?

Maritime Injuries Jan 29, 2021

As an offshore or maritime worker in New York, you have clear legal rights when you get injured on the job. While most employees in traditional occupations are protected by New York’s workers’ compensation statute, workers in the offshore and maritime industries are protected under federal law. As maritime accident attorney David P. Willis explains, the specific federal law that protects you depends on what you do for work and where you were working when you got hurt.

Your Rights if You Work Onboard a Ship or Boat

If you work onboard a boat or ship, you will most likely be protected by the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that applies specifically to “seamen” who work onboard “vessels in navigation.” To be considered a seaman, you must:

  • Spend a “significant amount of time” working onboard a vessel in navigation (this usually means that 30 percent or more of your work hours must be spent working onboard the vessel); and,
  • Your work must “contribute[] to the work of the vessel,” meaning that your job duties must help in accomplishing the vessel’s mission, whatever that mission may be.

To be considered a “vessel in navigation,” the ship or boat onboard which you work must:

  • Be afloat in navigable waters; and,
  • In operation and capable of moving (it does not actually have to be moving at the time you are injured).

If you are considered a seaman, live in New York, and suffer from a job-related injury, you can seek compensation under the Jones Act. Minimally, this means filing a claim for maintenance and cure. However, in many cases, injured seamen can seek full compensation for their injuries by filing a lawsuit against their employer.

Your Rights if You Work on the Outer Continental Shelf

If you live in New York and work on a platform, oil rig, or other structure that is fixed to the outer continental shelf, then you may have a claim under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). The OCLSA provides injured offshore workers with access to “no-fault” benefits—similar to New York’s workers’ compensation statute. Thus, regardless of what caused your injury, an experienced maritime accident attorney can help you seek to recover:

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

Your Rights if You Work at a Port, Dock or Terminal

If you work at a port, dock or terminal in New York, then recovering compensation for your on-the-job injury will most likely involve filing a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). This federal law also provides compensation similar to state workers’ compensation benefits, and this compensation is available to injured maritime workers on a “no-fault” basis.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with Maritime Accident Attorney David P. Willis

If you live in New York and were injured in an offshore or maritime accident, it will be important for you to get help from an experienced maritime accident attorney. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Willis Law Firm, call 800-468-4878 or contact us online now.

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