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Can claims be filed under the LHWCA and the Jones Act?

Suffering a serious work-related injury often comes with a significant recovery period. During that time, an injured worker here in Louisiana or elsewhere will incur medical expenses and lose income. If a full recovery is not possible, then other financial losses could occur well into the future. Seeking compensation for those financial losses is not quite as simple for seaman and marine workers. Instead, they rely on the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, respectively, but it is not always clear which act applies to a certain worker's circumstances.

The differentiation between a marine worker and a seaman is an integral one when it comes to filing complaints against employers for benefits. In some cases, it is clear which role a particular Louisiana resident falls into, but that is not always the case. In fact, courts have upheld claims brought under both acts by injured workers under certain circumstances.

If an agreement for compensation under the LHWCA does not address a worker's status as a marine worker or seaman, it may be possible to file a claim under the Jones Act as well. Many injured workers file claims under both acts simultaneously, but that does not always need to happen. However, if a formal determination is made regarding the status of a worker, then he or she will probably not be able to file a claim under both acts.

Injured workers here in Louisiana who are eligible for benefits under the LHWCA or the Jones Act may have one other option -- filing for compensation under both acts. Depending on the circumstances, this may be possible. In order to know for sure, it would be a good idea to discuss the situation with an attorney well-versed in maritime law.

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