What's the Difference Between Workers' Compensation & Jones Act Claims?
Unlike any other workplace on land, offshore workers are not protected by workers' compensation if they're injured on the job. Workers on offshore vessels have protections under a century-old law known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. Like workers' compensation programs, the Jones Act provides offshore workers with relief after an injury. However, the similarities end there.
Needing to prove negligence is the main difference between Jones Act claims and workers’ compensation claims. Like workers’ compensation, the Jones Act entitles workers to relief for their medical bills and lost pay. However, unlike workers’ compensation claims, the Jones Act requires an employee to prove negligence in court against their employer. Notably, the Jones Act only requires an employer to be partially responsible for workers to get compensation.
There are costs and benefits to both programs. Workers' compensation claims, for instance, require less work because there's no need to prove (or defend against) fault. However, workers' compensation claims tend to have limits on how much relief they provide. Successful Jones Act claims typically provide workers with more compensation than a typical workers’ compensation claim would have earned them, but filing a Jones Act claim is a far more complex court procedure.
Are Successful Jones Act Claims More Beneficial than Workers’ Compensation?
Since Jones Act claims require negligent behavior from an employer, the compensation for a successful claim covers broader losses than workers’ compensation does. While a workers’ compensation claim provides compensation for medical bills and disability benefits, Jones Act claims can recover damages for loss of income, loss of earning ability, cost of future medical care, and other long-term losses caused by the employer’s negligence.
Call today at (888) 346-5024 for a free consultation of your case. After billions of dollars won for clients, Arnold & Itkin is one of the nation’s leaders in maritime law. We’ll fight for you just as we’ve fought for other offshore workers with Jones Act claims.