If you are a dockside worker and have been injured in a work-related incident, then you may be wondering what rights you have. Generally speaking, workers who are employed by companies that transport goods over water—such as fishing boats or cargo ships—qualify for coverage under the Jones Act. 

However, dockside workers do not usually qualify for compensation under this act, but there are certain maritime laws and provisions that provide these workers with an avenue to receive much-needed compensation after a work-related injury. An experienced Gulfport maritime injury attorney can assist with identifying these rights and filing claims.

What Is The Jones Act? 

The Jones Act is a federal law that allows injured seamen to file Gulfport personal injury lawsuits against their employers for any injuries sustained on the job. It allows seamen to obtain compensation for medical care, lost wages, physical therapy, disability benefits, and other forms of compensation for injured seamen. The Jones Act does not cover dockworkers as they are not considered seamen as defined by this law.

What Are the Requirements for Qualifying as a Seaman Under the Jones Act? 

The requirements for qualifying as a seaman under the Jones Act are defined by federal legislation. The requirements for qualifying as a seaman under the Jones Act are defined by federal legislation. Individuals must work on a vessel in navigable waters; their job must contribute to the ship’s objective; and they must have a significant relationship to the ship, spending at least 30% of their working hours onboard.

This can include fishing boats, oil tankers, cruise ships, cargo ships, dredges, and barges – any type of vessel that works in navigation beyond coastal waters.

Coverage For Injured Dock Workers

Dock workers, longshore workers, shipbuilders, ship repairers, dockside construction workers, harbor workers, and in some cases oil and gas workers may all be eligible for benefits under Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) instead.

If you are found to be eligible for benefits under LHWCA then you will receive various types of assistance. These benefits include wage loss benefits if you cannot work due to the injury and medical coverage so that your medical bills can be paid for during the course of treatment and recovery process. 

You may also be eligible for vocational rehabilitation if needed in order to return to work or adjust to a new job due to injuries sustained at work as well as death benefits if the victim died from injuries suffered at work.

The LHWCA functions as a workers’ compensation system as opposed to a negligence-based system.

General Maritime Laws

Even with these two statutes, there are still some workers who do not qualify for coverage under either one and must turn to general maritime law for relief from their injuries. General maritime law claims are based upon common law principles, case law decisions, and other non-statutory rules which have been developed over centuries.

When working in the maritime industry, it’s important that everyone understands their rights under various laws including the Jones Act and LHWCA. 

However, understanding these statutes alone may not be enough – which is why seeking out an experienced Gulfport Jones Act attorney is essential when filing a claim after suffering from injuries/illnesses at work. With their expertise in maritime law, they can provide invaluable advice while ensuring that claimants recover what they’re entitled to. For help, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.