Differences Between the Jones Act and Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

There are many differences between the Jones Act and the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The biggest involves the cap on damages. With the Jones Act, there is no cap on damages, and the injured worker is allowed to move for general damages beyond just permanent impairment or loss of use.

That means that whenever the injured worker and the Jones Act case has pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment to life, they are allowed to ask for money damages to compensate those conditions. Under the Longshore Act, the damages that are allowed or the general damages are really limited to permanent impairment or what is called loss of use.

To best understand the differences between the Jones Act and the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, it is best to consult with an experienced Jones Act attorney in Charleston as soon as possible.

The Longshore Act and the US Department of Labor

The relationship between the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the United States Department of Labor is that the United States Department of Labor is charged with handling the administration of Longshore or Harbor Workers’ Compensation claims.

They have different district offices, and anyone injured in the Southeast North Carolina or South Carolina ports, for example, would all fall into the district that is located down in Jacksonville. Those claims are processed to the Department of Labor and/or handled there until either the claimant decides the benefits were administered appropriately or the claimant files for an administrative law judge hearing and removes the case from the Department of Labor.

That case will then be moved to the office of Administrative Law Judges to have a determination and benefit to this case.

Calculating Claims

The difference in how the recoverable damages are calculated is important to note. Under the Longshore Act, there are very specific laws that offer about two-thirds of the wages for the injured worker that are calculated either to determine a scheduled member disability award or to determine the future or past total or partial wage lost.

Under the Jones Act, there are no two-thirds rules. The injured worker gets the full amount that they had lost both for past wages, future lost wages, and any type of general damages. Under the Longshore Act, they are not allowed to make that claim, they can only move for permanent impairment and for what is called loss abuse.

In both of these claims, many of the injuries are very similar. The mechanism of the injury can be different depending on the type of work that is being performed, but the amount of money damages that are available to recover are typically much higher in a Jones Act case than they are in the Longshore case.

However, the laws are there to protect the injured worker in both instances. What the injured worker wants to do is to maximize the recovery for their damages under either system which applies to all of them. To best understand any further differences between the Jones Act and the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act in Charleston, it is important to contact a lawyer.


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