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Seamen May Be Eligible for Both Jones Act and Longshore Benefits

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When handling your Jones Act Case, you must always tell the truth. Nothing is more important then your credibility. If a judge assumes you are not being honest, your case will be thrown out and you will be left with nothing. I have seen it happen to many people.

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As a maritime worker, you probably know that your injuries aboard ship are protected under one of maritime workers’ compensation laws. But what you may not know is that maritime employees qualify for different types of benefits depending on the work they do.

Both the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) provide benefits for workers injured in the course of their work. While both Acts may refer to benefits for injured seamen, the LHWCA does not provide benefits for any seaman who is a “master or member of a crew” of a vessel. Any commander, captain, or crew members who are assigned to a vessel in navigation are covered under the Jones Act.

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Should an Injured Seaman Claim Jones Act or LHWCA Benefits?

While a seaman may be eligible for both Jones Act and LHWCA benefits, he can only collect one type of benefit or the other. Many seamen have accepted their workers’ compensation payments without knowing that they were being paid through the wrong program. Here are a few ways these mistakes are made:

  • A seaman attached to one vessel is injured on another, leading the company of the second vessel to misclassify the seaman.
  • A seaman is injured while performing repairs on a docked ship other than his own.
  • An employer requires all workers to sign up for benefits under the LHWCA in an attempt to pay Jones Act workers a lower amount of compensation after an injury.

The key to understanding which type of benefit you are eligible for lies in your Jones Act seaman status. Generally speaking, if you are a Jones Act seaman assigned to a vessel, you will claim injury benefits under the Jones Act even if your injury occurred off the vessel, on land, or even on another ship.

As long as the activity that led to your injury is work-related and contributed in some way to the mission of your vessel, your right to Jones Act payment is in force. To learn more about compensation and recoveries in Jones Act claims, please feel free to use our website to research your case.

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