Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
If you or a family member are employed at an offshore facility, you already
know that working "on a rig" carries a unique set of workplace
dangers. While most offshore facilities are dedicated to oil and natural
gas exploration/production, the recent emphasis on the construction of
offshore wind-driven turbines to produce electricity seems to indicate
that such "renewable" energy resources could represent hundreds
of new (and well-paying) jobs in those areas of the country that were
affected by the recent changes in offshore exploration and production policies.
In today's post, the maritime workers injury lawyer at the
Doan Law Firm will provide an overview of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and
how it benefits offshore workers who were injured while "on-the-job."
In previous posts we provided an overview of two important federal laws
that provide compensation to seamen and maritime workers who are injured
on-the-job. These laws are the
Jones Act and the
Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.
The Jones Act provides the legal framework to compensate the members of
a ship's crew for injuries received at sea. In general, the Jones
Act is superior to state-managed worker's compensation for several reasons:
- Jones Act benefits are typically more generous than state Workmen's
- The right to receive "maintenance and cure" regardless of who
was at fault in an injury
- The right to sue an employer for negligence, regardless of the extent to
which an act contributed to an injury
- The right to sue the owner of an "unseaworthy" vessel
- Allows payment of benefits for permanent partial disability
The Jones Act generally applies only to ships' crewmen, although there
are certain exceptions that may come into play. Since these exceptions
can be quite technical, from a legal point of view, they are best explained
by a maritime injury lawyer who is aware of the specific facts of a given
Jones Act injury case.
Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA)
As mentioned above, the Jones Act applies only when there is an injury
to a member of a ship's crew and only when a ship is operating under
a specific set of conditions. In the late 1920s, Congress enacted the
Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) to provide
workers' compensation-like benefits to those who work
on or near waterways that are used by commercial shipping interests but are
not classified as "seamen" under the definition used in the Jones Act.
Like the Jones Act, benefits provided under the LHWCA are more generous
that those available under the typical state Workmen's Compensation
program. With certain exceptions, LHWCA and Jones Act benefits are essentially the same.
Unlike the Jones Act, which is largely drawn from admiralty law (the "Law
of the Sea"), the LHWCA
does not allow an injured worker to sue an employer alleging that the employer's
negligence was the cause of an injury. In this respect, the LHWCA is similar
to state workers' compensation programs: both are "faultless,"
meaning that the worker does not have to prove that his or her employer's
negligence caused an injury but, in exchange for benefits that begin relatively
soon after an injury, the worker agrees
not to sue the employer.
Neither the Jones Act nor the LHWCA make mention of crewmen or other workers
employed on offshore drilling or exploration platforms. Congress corrected
this exclusion in 1953 with the enactment of the Outer Continental Shelf
Lands Act and its later amendments.
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)
As it relates to personal injury and workers' compensation law, OCSLA
extends the benefits provided to longshoremen and other port workers to
those workers employed in offshore oil and gas production as well as in
exploration and development of seabed natural resources. More recently,
the U.S. Department of Labor has amended OCSLA to include those workers
that are involved in the construction and maintenance of offshore wind-driven
turbines used to create electricity.
Benefits available under OCSLA are essentially identical to those provided
under LHWCA, and OCSLA retains the "no lawsuit" provision of
LHWCA. However, it is sometimes possible to file what is known as a "third
party" lawsuit against someone whose negligence caused an on the
if that "third party" is
not the employer and is
not a co-worker of the injured worker. The limitations on "third party"
lawsuits are quite complicated and are best explained by a maritime injury lawyer.
Why you need an OCSLA lawyer
In the maritime industries, every injured worker has the right to receive
compensation for his or her injuries. This compensation includes payment
of all medical expenses related to treating those injuries as well as
income support while the worker is physically unable to work. To ensure
that each injured worker receives a fair settlement of their injury claim,
it is often necessary to retain the services of a maritime workers'
When searching for a maritime workers' compensation lawyer, you will
need a lawyer who:
- understands the overall workers' compensation system
- is familiar with the various federal workers' compensation programs,
- is comfortable in dealing with employers and insurance carriers
- is ready to defend the client's right to fair compensation
One such lawyer is the maritime injury lawyer at the
Doan Law Firm, a nationwide personal injury law practice with offices located in major
cities throughout the country.
contact the maritime injury lawyer at the Doan Law Firm to arrange a
free review of your OCSLA injury case, your first consultation with our firm is always
free of charge and does obligate you to hire us to represent you in court.
Should you later decide that you want us to act as your legal counsel,
we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing
your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final
settlement that we will win for you.