When examining the basics of maritime law under the Jones Act, it seems as though oil and gas workers are left out. You should know that the Jones Act is very old and didn’t account for offshore engineers, pipefitters, drillers, or other oil and gas workers at its inception.
However, as time passed, many updates and amendments to the Jones Act have now allowed for offshore oil and gas workers to be afforded the same protections as seamen. The personal injury lawyers here at Morris Bart explain how maritime law applies to them.
Understanding the Requirements of the Jones Act
To understand how maritime law affects oil and gas workers, you need to know what the Jones Act does. The Jones Act requires offshore workers to spend more than 30% of their working hours on a vessel.
Since oil and gas workers fulfill this requirement quite easily, the Jones Act would apply to them. This means that all the protections afforded to seamen on ships are available to them.
Despite this, there are some exceptions to this rule. The rig that the oil or gas worker works on must be mobile. It can’t be permanently affixed to the ocean floor. If this is the case, then there is a good chance that the maritime laws under the Jones Act won’t apply to them.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
What If the Oil or Gas Rig Isn’t Mobile?
If the oil or gas rig isn’t a vessel, then the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) would apply. While both the LHWCA and the Jones Act both allow for compensation after an injury, there are stark differences between the two.
Differences Between the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
There are three significant differences between the LHWCA and Jones Act you should know of. For further information, you should consult with an offshore injury lawyer.
Types of Damages You Can Collect
The Jones Act allows you to recover compensation for a wide variety of damages ranging from:
- Lost wages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
In contrast, the LHWCA only allows you to recover compensation for lost wages and medical expenses. This means that the amount of money you can receive through the Jones Act tends to be higher than what you can receive through the LHWCA.
You can’t pursue any non-economic damages when filing a claim under the LHWCA. This is mainly due to the inherent nature of the LHWCA, which seeks to resolve matters quickly and provide prompt payment for your damages.
How Your Case Gets Handled
Under the Jones Act, you file a claim against the at-fault party responsible for your damages. This claim gets resolved either outside of court or in court through a jury trial. While most cases don’t end up going to trial, some do, which can take a good chunk of time to resolve.
The LHWCA does provide a faster solution, but ultimately it doesn’t yield as high of a settlement as a claim filed under the Jones Act. The U.S. Department of Labor will handle your claim as it doesn’t go to trial.
Statute of Limitations
The Jones Act gives offshore injury victims three years to file their claim before it expires. The LHWCA only gives one year to file a claim after you notify your employer within 30 days. While there are exceptions here and there under both acts, the general timeframe they provide applies to most cases.
How Will a Lawyer Help Me?
Maritime law isn’t easy to understand. You’re looking at roughly 100 years worth of laws and revisions. However, you don’t have to spend hours on end becoming an expert in maritime law.
Instead, by hiring a lawyer, you can focus on your recovery while they handle all your legal affairs. A lawyer will:
- Help you figure out whether the Jones Act or the LHWCA applies to your case.
- Help you gather all the necessary documents and evidence pertaining to your case.
- Help you accurately calculate all the damages related to your case.
A lawyer is an investment you make to ensure you get fairly compensated for your injuries. Don’t let your employer or any insurance company take advantage of you after an injury.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Learn More About How Maritime Law Will Affect Your Case
If you want to learn more about how maritime law will affect your offshore injury case as an oil or gas worker, please contact the lawyers at Morris Bart today. With years of experience under our belt, we can help you get a settlement that covers your damages and helps put you on the path towards recovery.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.