Commercial Divers May Have Options After an On-the-Job InjuryCommercial diving is one of the most dangerous marine careers available, with divers at risk of drowning or hypoxia every time they perform a job. While professional divers may be owed workers’ compensation benefits after an accident, they could also be able to file a lawsuit for their injury costs if they are covered under maritime laws.

Types of Injury Compensation Available to Commercial Divers

When a diver is injured on the job, he or she could be owed a wide variety of compensation and benefits depending on the nature of employment. Some maritime laws provide wage replacement and medical payments, while others allow workers to take action against vessel owners if unsafe conditions caused the accident.

Commercial divers could be owed compensation under:

  • Jones Act. The Jones Act is one of the most comprehensive sources of maritime employee injury benefits, as it allows workers to collect maintenance and cure as well as the ability to file negligence and unseaworthiness claims against shipowners. Divers may be covered under the Jones Act if they were injured after diving from a vessel on which they had a standing work relationship. This may apply to a diver who has been assigned to a vessel for a certain duration—such as a port-to-port journey—or only performs activities for one vessel in navigation.
  • Workers’ compensation. Divers who are employed by a contracting company may be covered under the employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. This insurance is particularly useful to contracted commercial divers who suffer injuries during shore-side construction or activities on land, which may be excepted under the Jones Act.
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). Freelance or contracted divers who do not qualify for Jones Act benefits may be covered under the LHWCA, which provides wage replacement benefits based on the diver’s average weekly salary.
  • Maritime law. Any person who suffers an injury at sea has right under general maritime laws, including the right to file lawsuits for products liability and wrongful death.

Our maritime injury lawyers are based in New York, but we represent clients across the country who have suffered an accident at sea. Simply contact us online or call us directly at (800) 362-9329 to speak with a maritime injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer about your case.


Paul T. Hofmann
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Focused on personal injury, with an emphasis on maritime, railroad and construction worker tort claims.
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