What You Need to Know About the LHWCA vs. The Jones Act

Doyle LLP Trial Lawyers Shipyard Injury

If you are a longshoreman or harbor worker, learning about coverage under the LHWCA and Jones Act can help you decide what it means to you and your family. The quick summary below will provide the answers to many of your questions so that you know what to ask your Maritime Lawyer.


Who’s covered?

Ownership of the vessels you work on makes all the difference. If you work on vessels owned by companies other than your employer, then a full legal analysis will need to be completed.  But generally this means that you are not covered by the Jones Act and may instead fall under the LHWCA.  

What are the limitations?

Under the LHWCA, you only qualify for workers compensation determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. This pay is minimal and often inadequate.

When negligence is the primary cause

In some situations, you can file a claim for negligence even after filing for worker compensation.  This often is the case when a company, other than your own employer was the cause of your injuries. You should contact an experienced Maritime Lawyer before you make any claim.

The Jones Act:

Who’s covered?

Crewmembers working on vessels at least 30% of the time that are owned by their employer.

What are the limitations?

While you receive a settlement from the Jones Act, you do not qualify for workers compensation.  Instead, you are entitled to receive maintenance (generally, room and board) and cure (medical treatment) until your injury reaches maximum medical improvement.  In addition, unlike the LHWCA, under the Jones Act, an injured person is entitled to make a negligence-based claim against his or her employer

After filing a suit, a jury or judge determines the payout amount. Fortunately, the payout has the potential to be far more than workers compensation. This is when you need an excellent maritime attorney.

When can I file a Jones Act claim?

The lists of things covered under this act are numerous and more than you may expect. The following examples qualify for claims in most circumstances.

1. Inadequate

Training, assistance, instructions, equipment, and warnings of a dangerous condition all qualify.

2. Safety violations

These violations can include unqualified captains, untrained assistants, and unsafe equipment and conditions.

3. Negligence

Any injury that could have been prevented by a reasonable act on the part of the owner or company.