If you work offshore or dockside in Florida and you have been injured on the job, you need to be very careful to protect your legal rights. Here is an overview of what you need to know and how an experienced Florida maritime injury lawyer can help you seek just compensation: Who is Covered by the Jones Act? The Jones Act covers anyone who is a permanent or significant worker on a vessel, such as a crew member. It provides maintenance and cure benefits to “seamen” who suffer work-related injuries, and it provides additional compensation to those who are injured due to their employers’ negligence or a vessel’s unseaworthiness. The Jones Act does not cover employees who only work on vessels temporarily, such as harbor workers. However, harbor workers may be eligible for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). What is a “Vessel?” Under the Jones Act, a “vessel” is any type of professional or personal watercraft. This includes recreational boats, barges, cargo ships, tanker ships, cruise ships, and tugboats, among many others. Fixed platforms on the water are not considered vessels under the Jones Act, but individuals who work on fixed platforms may be able to file claims under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). What Does “Unseaworthy” Mean? A vessel may be considered “unseaworthy” if it is physically defective or is not properly equipped—lacking life jackets or first aid kits, for example. A vessel may also be considered unseaworthy if it is staffed […]
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