How does the Jones Act impact oil rig workers’ compensation in Louisiana?
Louisiana – March 25, 2021
Rig workers vs. seaman.
In recent decisions, the Supreme Court has held that to be considered a Jones Act seaman, ”a worker must aid in the navigation of a vessel, or contribute to the mission of a vessel and have a connection to an identifiable group of vessels that is substantial in terms of both duration and nature.” Workers’ compensation claims can be tricky and experienced legal counsel can support claims under the Jones Act when the worker proves they qualify as a “seaman” and they have been injured on the job.
The Jones Act.
The United States Congress enacted the Jones Act in 1920 to allow enhanced damage recovery options for seamen who were trying to recover for negligence. The Jones Act provides remedies to “seamen,” those workers more, or less permanently assigned to vessels and who assist in their mission. Select Louisiana workers who are injured on the job may seek worker’s compensation through the Jones Act. Oil rig accident victims should contact the Law Offices of Stag Liuzza for a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation for injuries occurring on oil rig vessels in Louisiana.
Offshore oil rigs considered vessels.
A “vessel” is broadly defined in 1 USCA §3 as anything capable of transportation. Floater rigs are among the most common types of offshore rigs found in the Gulf of Mexico. These floating production systems are used in water depths from 600 to 6,000 feet. The extraction of volatile substances lead to frequent work-related accidents. Workers are at risk of falling from dangerous heights in severe weather, and being caught in, or hit by machinery. Floater platform rig crew members work long stressful hours, which can contribute to fatigue and judgment error. Personal injury attorneys can represent victims who have been injured on oil rigs in Louisiana. There may be times when the claims for damages are workers’ compensation related, and where they are personal injury claims for negligence. Skilled legal counsel can clear up confusion related to individual cases.
Victims who have been injured in a drilling rig accident in the Gulf of Mexico may be covered the Jones Act. The Jones Act provides special protection to workers on boats and other types of vessels. Even though oil rigs and semisubmersible rigs do not move under their own power, they are considered “vessels” under the Jones Act.
Under the Jones Act, victims may recover:
- Full wages lost due to the accident
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of physical capacity
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of household services
In wrongful death claims, funeral expenses and damages for pain and suffering that occurred prior to death are also able to be recovered. Legal action must be initiated within three years of the injury under the Jones Act.
Seek legal counsel.
Experienced attorneys at Stag Liuzza understand how important it is to seek financial assistance after an oil rig accident that causes harm and loss to victims. They can build a case for personal injury and/or claims under the Jones Act when warranted.
STAG LIUZZA, LLC
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365 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130