Here in Cajun Country, we are surrounded by water. Between the Mississippi, Lake Pontchartrain, and the Gulf, many of us make a living on or near the water. If you work on a boat or ship, shipyard, or on the docks and are injured on the job, you may qualify for special federal programs available to maritime and harbor workers.
Are You a Seaman or Longshoreman?
No matter who you work for, you should have been informed of the benefits you are entitled to when you were hired. But if your employer failed to do so, or you have worked incident-free for so many years you have forgotten, you may not know who is responsible for compensating when you are injured. The following is a basic outline of state and federal coverage for injured workers:
- Jones Act. If you spend a considerable amount of time working as a crewmember or captain on any kind of boat or ship that is afloat, in operation, and capable of moving on navigable waters, you are considered a seaman and are covered under the federal Jones Act. Under the Jones Act, you have the right to sue your employer for negligence if an accident was the employer’s fault. You are also entitled to maintenance and cure benefits, no matter whose fault the accident was.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This federal act covers most workers whose job requires them to be on or near the water, but are not considered seamen. As the name suggests, this includes longshoremen, harbor workers, and people who work on docks and in shipyards. This coverage is similar to state workers’ compensation programs, but provides more generous compensation in most cases.
- Workers’ compensation. If you don’t fall into one of the above categories, you should be covered by Louisiana’s workers’ compensation program. This insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages for workers injured on the job, regardless of whose fault the accident was. Under the program, workers are not able to sue their employers for damages even if an accident was caused by employer negligence.
You should be able to easily determine which program you are covered by, but that doesn’t mean your claim will be as straightforward.
Rusty Bianca Can Help You Get the Benefits You Deserve
Attorney Rusty Bianca has lived in Baton Rouge his whole life and comes from a blue-collar background. He knows what it means to put in a hard day’s work and he is proud to support workers in getting the benefits they deserve when they have been injured on the job—no matter which state or federal program they are covered by. Call our Baton Rouge office as soon as you can after your work-related injury. We are here to help.