A fire started on a W&T Offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico last week about 30 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The company evacuated the platform and extinguished the fire. One worker reported minor injuries.
The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) are federal statutes that cover maritime workers who are injured on the job. These laws offer maritime workers legal protection and entitle workers to compensation for their injuries. The circumstances surrounding an injured worker’s employment will determine which statute applies to the worker.
The Jones Act offers certain injured seaman “maintenance and cure” payments. An injured worker must prove “seaman” status to qualify under the Jones Act, which requires a permanent assignment to a vessel in navigation. Although most oil rigs are not considered vessels, certain types of rigs may qualify as a vessel under the statute depending on the rig’s technology and composition.
On the other hand, the LHWCA typically applies to longshoremen, including workers on fixed docks, stationery platforms and oil rigs. The LHWCA is a workers’ compensation scheme that provides compensation to an injured worker for lost wages, medical benefits and rehabilitation.
If you were injured while working at sea, Broussard, David & Moroux’s experienced attorneys can help you determine whether the Jones Act or LHWCA applies to your employment situation. For questions, call Broussard, David & Moroux at 888-337-2323(toll-free) or 337-337-2323 (local).