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Jones Act Archives

Jones Act protects independent contractors too

For the many men and women that work on the open water, the Jones Act is a pretty familiar term. It offers protection against death or injury while working for an employer while at sea. In that respect, it mimics some of the same qualities as workers' compensation does for traditional jobs. Just as with workers' compensation, the Jones Act has a vast list of requirements and regulations for those it governs, in order to be eligible for its protection.

What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act?

Working on the Louisiana docks as a longshoreman can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but it's also one of the toughest and most dangerous. Employers have an obligation to keep the workplace as safe as possible to avoid injuries on the job, but that's not always the case. Even with safe conditions, accidents can happen and workers can get hurt. Thankfully, when an accident does occur, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act exists to provide benefits for occupational diseases and injuries to dock workers. The LHWCA provides benefits such as:

  • Hospital, medical and surgical supplies and services.
  • For disabilities caused by an on-the-job maritime accident, the LHWCA provides compensation that equates to 66 ? percent of the normal weekly salary of the employee.
  • In the case of a death, the widower and widow are entitled to up to $3,000 for funeral costs plus 50 percent of the deceased worker's average wages for one week. These are good for life, or end if the surviving spouse gets remarried. Children under the age of 18 can also receive rewards.

The Jones Act and injuries caused by ships

When Louisiana workers suffer serious personal injuries as a result of an accident caused by a ship or other vessel, their claims are governed by the Jones Act, which is a federal component of maritime and admiralty law, rather than under the state's personal injury laws. Available claims and damages must thus be sought through the nation's maritime law, which has different procedures and laws than other types of personal injury cases.

What is the Death on the High Seas Act?

The Death on the High Seas Act is a federal law that was passed in 1920 seeking to regulate the process of legal redress for wrongful death actions that have their origin in the international waters between countries. It has been substantially and controversially expanded by President Reagan's decision in 1988 to extend the aquatic borders of the United States.

How the LHWCA applies to Louisiana workers

Longshore and harbor workers in Louisiana may benefit from understanding the workers' compensation laws that apply to their position. Many of these individuals are covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. This piece of legislation financially provides for the needs of these workers in the event that they are injured while on U.S. waters or doing work on land that is related to these duties. The act also gives survivors' benefits to the next of kin of a person who died while performing these duties.

Court rules no punitive damages in Jones Act cases

On Sept. 25, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals filed a decision in the case of McBride v. Estis Well Service, LLC, concluding that punitive damages are not available to plaintiffs of lawsuits filed under the Jones Act. Typically, these suits are filed in connection with injuries or fatalities suffered on a sea vessel while working. With its decision, the court affirmed an earlier U.S. District Court decision in the Louisiana case.

Oil industry lawsuit supporter re-nominated in Louisiana

A board member for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, who has become known for his support of a lawsuit against the oil industry, was re-nominated for a position on the board on Sept. 18. The controversial suit against pipeline, oil and gas companies alleges that the companies damaged coastal areas that serve as a buffer against hurricanes and that they have not done enough to correct the situation.

Levee board looking to hold gas and oil companies to their word

According to the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, the equivalent of roughly one football field of land is lost to the sea every 38 minutes. This figure was obtained from research done by the United States Geological Survey. It is projected that a landmass equivalent to the size of Rhode Island could be lost by 2050 if nothing is done to stop it.

Maritime laws in Louisiana

Louisiana maritime laws like the Jones Act were designed to provide employees with protection if an injury occurs while working out at the sea. The legislation enables employees who have suffered an injury due to someone else's carelessness to seek restitution for damages.

Plaquemines hopes to keep case against oil companies in Louisiana

A judge will not rule until after Sept. 12 in a case that is part of a larger series of 21 lawsuits against 18 oil companies in Louisiana. While the judge in the case typically rules from the bench after hearing arguments, he is only hearing three of the cases while the rest are being heard by other judges.

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