The Longshore Act and Jones Act are federal laws that provide benefits and protections to New York workers in the maritime industry. However, they have some crucial differences in their scope and application.
The Jones Act
This federal law applies to workers on vessels engaged in commerce between U.S. ports. It provides a cause of action for seamen to sue their employers for negligence and maintenance and cure, which is a legal term for the payment of wages and medical expenses for workers who are injured or become ill while working on a vessel. The Jones Act also gives injured seamen the right to a jury trial and allows them to recover damages for pain and suffering, lost wages and other losses.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
Also known as the Longshore Act, it is a federal law that applies to injured workers working on navigable waters, such as ports and harbors, but not on vessels. It provides workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expenses and lost wages, for maritime injuries to workers and limits the amount of compensation that workers can recover in a lawsuit against an employer.
The Longshore Act also covers certain workers who are not considered “seamen” within the Jones Act. Those covered include stevedores, crane operators and dockworkers, loading and unloading cargo from ships, and shipyard workers building and repairing vessels.
Defining vessel in terms of the acts
The term “vessel” in this context is any watercraft or artificial contrivance used for water transportation. It is not limited to ships or boats but includes platforms, drilling rigs and other similar structures.
The benefits and protections
The Jones Act and the Longshore Act provide benefits and protections to workers in the maritime industry. The Jones Act applies to workers on vessels engaged in commerce between U.S. ports, while the Longshore Act applies to workers injured while working on navigable waters, such as ports and harbors, but not on vessels.
There overlap between the two acts
However, there is an overlap in the coverage of both acts because the Longshore Act may also cover an individual who is a seaman within the Jones Act if they are injured on navigable waters but not on a vessel. The two acts provide different remedies and benefits, and an injured worker may be able to pursue a claim under both laws.