Offshore Workers and the Jones Act
While the Jones Act offers coverage to maritime workers on sea vessels, depending on the type of rig and structure that you are working on, offshore workers may also receive Jones Act coverage. According to the Jones Act, a worker must spend more than 1/3 of their time on the seaworthy vessel to gain coverage. The term “vessel” doesn’t refer only to a ship or boat, instead, it is used to describe moored boats, jack-up rigs, oil rigs or offshore production platforms, land transportation that a company provides, and barges that have sleeping quarters. It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure that a vessel is seaworthy before allowing its employees to work on it, if they do not, they should be responsible for any injuries that occur.
Oil Rigs are considered Unseaworthy when:
- They lack proper medical supplies and medical staff
- There is a lack of safety gear
- There is a lack of proper work equipment
- The gear provided is defective
- There are inadequate safety measures
- There is improper stowage
- Anti-slip surfaces are worn or nonexistent
Our attorneys have experience getting clients necessary settlements through Jones Act offshore lawsuits. We have worked with clients who have suffered offshore injuries while working with some of the nation’s leading offshore companies such as Hercules Offshore, ENSCO, Spartan, and more.
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation
If you are working on a permanently stationary rig that is not seaworthy, for example, it is attached to the ocean floor, then your injury claim will likely be governed by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act is similar to the Jones Act but it provides coverage for those who are maritime workers on land. The LHWCA oversees workers in traditional maritime occupations such as longshore workers, ship-repairers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers, and harbor construction workers. The offshore workers’ injury must take place on the navigable waters of the United States or in the adjoining areas, such as piers, docks, terminals, wharves, and the areas used in loading and unloading sea vessels.
The federal regulations surrounding offshore employment are complicated and complex. Not every law firm understands the technicalities of the offshore industry and will be able to work with offshore workers to ease the burden of managing their offshore injury and recovery. Our law firm has a winning track record of managing the logistics of an offshore injury, securing coverage for our clients, and ensuring their recovery, physically, financially, or both.
Brian Beckcom, one of VB Attorneys’ founding partners, is widely considered one of the nation’s leading Jones Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act attorneys for cases involving maritime and offshore accidents and injuries.
While attending the University of Texas School of Law, Mr. Beckcom studied under David Robertson, a leading admiralty professor in the country, and graduated with honors. He has been involved in admiralty law, maritime law, and the Jones Act his entire legal career. He has published hundreds of articles, books, news items, and other expert analysis on offshore injury claims.
Mr. Beckcom has successfully represented hundreds of individuals in injury lawsuits.