Texas residents and others who work on offshore oil rigs and wind installations are classified in two general categories – maritime and nonmaritime workers. Maritime workers fall under the provisions of the federal Jones Act. Knowing how a worker is classified is elementary to the process associated with addressing a workplace injury.
Test to determine if a person is a maritime worker
Pursuant to federal admiralty and maritime law, a two-part test is used to ascertain of a person is a maritime worker pursuant to the Jones Act. First, a worker must contribute to the function of an offshore vessel. Second, a worker must have a substantial connection to an offshore vessel. A connection must be both in duration and nature. In some cases, controversy arises regarding whether the Jones Act is applicable in particular situation.
Coverage under the Jones Act versus workers’ compensation law
If an employee is classified as a maritime worker and is injured, that individual is covered by the provisions of the federal Jones Act when it comes to seeking compensation. On the other hand, if a person on a watercraft of some nature is injured, the workers’ compensation laws of a particular state are used. In other words, if an offshore but nonmaritime worker is injured while working in Texas, the Texas workers’ compensation law governs how a work-related injury is addressed.
If you’ve been injured in some type of offshore accident, you can best understand and protect your legal rights by consulting with a Texas lawyer. There are significant differences in procedures between workers’ compensation and Jones Act claims that an experienced lawyer can explain.