Our lawyers are often contacted by maritime workers who were injured on the job who wish to know what legal rights they have and what type of recovery they may be entitled. The first question that must be addressed is whether or not the maritime worker is a seaman entitled to recovery under the federal Jones Act or a non-seaman entitled to recovery under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Court opinions from time to time provide guidance as to the facts necessary to make this decision.
Facts of the Case
A tug boat struck two crane barges which were spudded down or anchored at a dock facility. The two barges were engaged in constructing a dock at the time of the incident. A worker on one of the crane barges was injured. From this incident, the injured worker brought a claim against the owner of the offending tugboat as well as the company overseeing the dock building seeking various damages, including loss of earnings and earning capacity, pain, suffering, mental anguish and emotional trauma. A motion for summary judgment was filed seeking to deem the maritime worker as a seaman who was entitled to the protections of the Jones Act. The company overseeing the dock work opposed the motion.