Performing work at an offshore job site could mean that someone is at work for multiple days in a row and far from family. Professionals in offshore employment arrangements, including fishermen, cruise ship employees and oil and gas workers, have significant injury risks related to their employment.
Issues ranging from fires to drownings could leave them in need of medical care and unable to earn income to support themselves and their families. Unlike those who work in mainland Texas, offshore and maritime workers don’t get to file workers’ compensation claims. Do they have any protection from workplace injuries?
The rules are different once someone leaves the shore
Workers’ compensation programs are very different in every state, and therefore the jurisdiction that applies when an injury occurs is of the utmost importance. Offshore workers do not have the option of filing a workers’ compensation claim because their injury did not occur in a state.
Thankfully, there are federal rules that protect those injured in an offshore location. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 included provisions intended to protect professionals in offshore employment arrangements. Section 27 of the Act gives a worker the right to file a lawsuit against a company when negligence or regulatory infractions lead to an injury on the job. Many people refer to the section of the law as the Jones Act, and it is one of the most important protections available for injured offshore employees.
Although there isn’t workers’ compensation coverage available, employees who pursue the right steps after an injury in an offshore location can potentially secure wage replacement and medical cost coverage for their losses. Knowing the rules that apply after a maritime workplace injury will make it easier for workers to cover their recent losses.