The Admiralty Extension Act is one of several laws that protect maritime workers after a serious accident. Depending on where you work and what jobs you perform, it could provide benefits and establish fault in your injury case.
Which Law Protects Me After an Injury at Sea?
The first step to determining what you are owed after a maritime injury is to discover which federal laws govern your workers’ compensation. Any one of the following may provide benefits for injured workers at sea:
- Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (LHWCA). The Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act protects harbor workers and longshoremen who are injured on the job. Like most workers’ compensation programs, the LHWCA provides dock workers with payments for their medical bills and disability. Longshoremen can also sue their companies, coworkers, or other parties responsible for causing their injuries.
- Admiralty Extension Act (AEA). This law allows dock workers who are injured by a vessel to claim compensation. It essentially extends admiralty jurisdiction to a reasonable degree inland, including piers, docks, bridges, and other areas where land and water meet. Dock workers who are injured by ships that crash into piers, hurt while unloading a vessel’s cargo, or are stuck by cranes on ships can file claims against a vessel and its owner under the AEA.
- Jones Act. Compensation under this Act depends on the job duties of the worker, as well as whether or not he has been assigned to a vessel. A person who spends most of his time in the employ of one ship may qualify as a seaman, giving him full protection of the Jones Act. Injured Jones Act seamen may collect medical benefits and a stipend to live on while they recover (called maintenance and cure), regardless of who was at fault for the injury. Seamen also have a right to sue shipowners under the Jones Act if the vessel was unseaworthy and can sue crewmates if negligence played a part in causing the injury.
If you have been injured while working for a maritime employer, it is vital that you know as much as possible about the limits of your injury coverage. Please feel free to use our website to learn more about the Jones Act, maritime law, and your rights to compensation after an accident aboard ship.