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Workers in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi RIver: What’s Covered?

In most cases, injuries that occur on navigable waters fall under maritime law. This typically refers to any body of water that a vessel can navigate. Many maritime injuries occur on ocean-going vessels, but plenty of injuries happen on other navigable bodies of water. If you’re injured someplace else, what’s covered?

Maritime Injuries in the Gulf of Mexico

Injuries that occur in the Gulf of Mexico are typically eligible for Jones Act claims, and may also general maritime law or other specific areas of maritime law. Under the Jones Act, you must be able to prove that your employer was negligent to make a recovery. General maritime law has some simpler qualifying criteria and may be the first step to ensuring you recover financially from your injury.

Generally speaking, if you’re employed more than 30% of the time on a vessel capable of navigating bodies of water, you’re eligible to file a claim under the Jones Act. This includes seamen employed on:

  • Drill ships
  • Floating cranes
  • Fishing vessels
  • Cruise ships
  • Construction barges
  • Cargo Ships
  • Tankers
  • Diving Vessels
  • Drilling Rigs

Vessels that do not qualify for Jones Act injuries include fixed platforms; basically, anything that can’t move around (or be towed around) navigable waters. However, if you work on a fixed platform in the Gulf of Mexico, you may still be eligible to file a claim under other sections of maritime law.

Maritime Injuries on the Mississippi River

Maritime law extends to most navigable bodies of water, and that includes the Mississippi River. This means that if you’re injured on a cruise ship, casino ship, fishing boat, barge, freighter, dredge or other vessel on the Mississippi, you may be eligible to make a claim under the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Determining what section of maritime law applies in a specific case can quickly become a complex issue. The location of the accident, the nature of the vessel, your employment status and other factors go into determining which part of maritime law applies to your injury case. To make sure you file all of the appropriate legal claims under maritime law, you should consult with an experienced maritime attorney who can advise you of your rights.

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