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What's the difference between the Jones Act and the LHWCA?

The Jones Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) are two acts with mutually exclusive coverage. Knowing which act you are eligible for can be confusing if you are a maritime employee and have been injured on a vessel or around a vessel. Whether you’re involved in an accident at sea or become injured on land, you could receive compensation for any pain or suffering.

What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act covers maritime employees, also known as “seamen.” You are most likely considered a seaman if you are employed to a permanent vessel. A vessel you might work on could be an oil rig, jack-up barge or shipping boat. The Jones Act covers injuries such as:

  • Arm injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Hand injuries
  • Leg injuries
  • Neck injuries

What is the LHWCA?

The Compensation Act is a federal law that provides compensation for injured “land based” maritime workers. You have equal opportunity for compensation if you are a government or non-government employee working on an oil rig. You might also be involved with ship building or ship repair. Benefits you may be eligible for include:

  • Payment of compensation
  • Medical care
  • Rehabilitation services

The difference between the Jones Act and the LHWCA

The major difference between the Jones Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is who the acts can help and what damages are covered. The Jones Act is limited to “seamen” and revolves around personal injury negligence remedy. If your work injury results in pain and suffering, lost wages or medical expenses, those damages could be covered under the Jones Act.

The Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act might be for you if you are a land based maritime employee. A variety of non-maritime employees may also be covered if their work injuries occurred on navigable water. Coverage is similar to workers’ compensation benefits.

Which law applies to you?

The Jones Act only protects government workers who are injured at sea. Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act covers government and non-government workers who are not stationed at a permanent vessel. You might work on the piers, docks, harbors, terminals, and around the vessel(s) and be able to receive compensation from this act. Many Louisiana workers are unaware of their title. If you are unsure about your classification, an attorney can help.

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