Coverage Crossroads – What Type of Claim Do You Have?

Most injuries that occur in the course of one’s employment are covered by the workers’ compensation system in place in the state where the worker lives and works. The rules of that state govern the benefits the worker will receive.  On the edge of these well-defined boundaries, however, the question of which system should cover an injured worker can get interesting.

As an example, a worker in the fishing industry who suffers an injury may be covered under one of several possible types of claims, depending on the circumstances of their individual case. If the worker is injured on a vessel while at sea, their benefits may be governed by the Jones Act as a maritime claim. Or, if they are involved in the loading and unloading of a vessel while it is in port as the primary duties of their land-based job, the worker may have a claim under the Longshore and Harborworkers Act. Some workers are involved in fish processing aboard a vessel but that vessel is tied to land, it is moored, while this work is performed. This may be a state workers’ compensation claim. We often speak with workers whose claims are in Alaska’s jurisdiction and make referrals to Alaska attorneys for these cases. There are situations, though, where a worker in the fishing industry, even if the injury did not occur within the boudaries of Washington State, still has a Washington workers’ compensation claim.  It all depends on the individual circumstances of each case.

If you have questions about your injury claim, feel free to contact our office.  We can be of assistance with a Washington workers’ compensation case, a Longshore claim, or a maritime case.  If we cannot assist you, we will do our best to make a recommendation for where you can get the help you need.

Photo Credit: Kit Case, Fishing boats in Cowitchan Bay, BC

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