Donald Trump spoke at Rivertowne Marina on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 7, 2017. He discussed plans for the federal government to invest 200 billion dollars on infrastructure including inland waterways.
Significant upgrades to locks and dams on the Ohio River would result in river occupation job opportunities for Jones Act Seaman, Longshoremen, pilots, deckhands and dock workers. Workers injured performing these types of jobs may benefit greatly by consulting with an experienced river injury attorney.
Cincinnati, Ohio and northern Kentucky have an available stock of maritime workers and trained tow boat crewmembers. Companies such as C&B Marine, McGinnis, Inc. and Inland Marine concentrate their Ohio River hiring in northern Kentucky (Covington, Maysville, Carrolton, Newport, Florence) and in southern Ohio (Cincinnati, Portsmouth).
Look for an uptick of river employment opportunities in the Midwest if the anticipated federal infrastructure projects go forward.
Keep in mind that persons who work on river based bridge construction and at locks and dams may be covered by the Jones Act or the Longshore Act. These workers’ compensation systems frequently provide more generous benefits than are available under Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia or Indiana workers’ compensation. A lawyer who practices Jones Act and Longshore cases such as Steven C. Schletker may be of benefit in determining what jurisdiction an injured workers’ claim may fall under.
If your work at a lock and dam brings you onto the navigable waters of the Ohio River or Kanawha River, and you are injured in the course of your employment, you have a good chance of qualifying for federal benefits. The Supreme Court has held that workers injured on actual navigable waters are engaged in maritime employment.
If you work at a cofferdam, your work may qualify for Longshore coverage even though the area where you work has temporarily been removed from navigation. At a dam repair site, many workers performing tasks such as oiler and heavy equipment operator are determined to be Longshoremen. An experienced maritime attorney can help an injured cofferdam worker get the benefits he/she is entitled to.
Wages paid for workers at dam construction and repair sites are often very high. The wages paid in the year preceding a work accident sets the rate at which Longshore compensation benefits are paid. For example, if a worker earns $1,000.00 per week in the year preceding the work injury, under the Longshore Act the worker is entitled to 2/3 of the average weekly wage or $666.66 as the weekly compensation rate. Once maximum medical improvement is reached, if the injured river worker cannot return to his/her prior work, under the Longshore Act the burden shifts to the Employer to identify suitable alternate employment. If the Employer does not prove the existence of alternate (lighter duty) work, the injured worker will likely be found to be permanent totally disabled. If the Employer identifies alternate work, the injured Longshoreman is entitled to 2/3 of the difference between his pre-injury average weekly wage and his post-injury residual earnings capacity. The running award of permanent partial disability continues for the rest of the injured Longshoreman’s life. Feel free to call Longshore attorney Steven C. Schletker for an analysis of what your Longshore benefits might include.
If you are working on a towboat or work flat on the Ohio River and your work furthers the mission of the vessel, you may qualify for Jones Act seaman coverage. At a dam repair site, workers are required to tend to barges, and other floating platforms to conduct the work of the operation. Whether a lock and dam support worker satisfies the requirement for seaman status depends on the number of hours worked and the type of tasks performed.
If you are injured on the Ohio River, Licking River or Kanawha River, call Jones Act, river injury, Longshore lawyer Steven C. Schletker for a free initial consultation.