Jones Act and Longshore Claims in Alaska Maritime Accidents

Alaska is a state built on the maritime industry. Not only are certain parts only accessible by water, but various aspects of the economy are reliant on the activities and efforts of employers in the maritime sector. According to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Last Frontier ranks #3 in the US in terms of maritime jobs, at around 70,000 jobs within the state. These employees work on cruise ships, ferries, fishing vessels, and container ships, as well as the docks, wharves, and marinas adjacent to them.

You probably do not think too much about the laws that protect your interests while working around docks, ships, and harbors – at least not until you are hurt in a maritime accident. These incidents may trigger the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) OR the Jones Act depending on the circumstances. Anchorage maritime accident attorneys can explain the differences between these two laws.


Longshore Act Protects Maritime Employees

This statute is a no-fault system of workers’ compensation, so you do not need to prove that your employer was negligent in causing the maritime accident. The LHWCA applies to those who work around water, as separate from those employees who perform their jobs on water-based vessels. You may be considered a longshoreman if you are:

  • A shipbuilder;
  • Involved with loading and unloading cargo from container ships;
  • A ship maintenance or repair worker;
  • A construction worker at a marina, harbor, or other drydock facility; or,
  • Otherwise employed for jobs on docks, terminals, piers, wharves, and other structures near navigable waters.

If you qualify under the legal criteria, your benefits under the Longshore Act include “maintenance and cure.” Maintenance refers to wages you lose when unable to work because of your injuries, so you can recover a percentage of your income. You can also receive amounts to cover all reasonable and necessary medical care for your injuries, i.e., LHWCA cure benefits.


Seamen are Covered by the Jones Act

While also a type of workers’ compensation because it applies to maritime accidents, the Jones Act operates differently. Under this law, you do need to show that your employer was negligent in causing your injuries or allowing dangerous conditions to create a hazardous work environment. It is not necessary to show that your employer’s negligence was the main cause of the incident; you only need to prove that such misconduct played a role.

Only seamen who are permanently assigned to a vessel and who work at least 30% of their time on vessels will qualify under the Jones Act. Employees on container ships, barges, oil rigs, and ferries may recover for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Get Additional Details From an Alaska Maritime Accident Lawyer

Our team at Power & Power Law is knowledgeable about application of the LHWCA and Jones Act, so we can advise you on strategies for getting the compensation you deserve. To learn more, please contact our offices in Anchorage, Alaska at 907-222-9990 or via our website. We can set up a no-cost case review to explore options.