Worker on a Ship by the Water Hofmann and SchweitzerMaritime laws include two specific workers’ compensation and injury statues: one to protect those who work on vessels, and one to protect those who work on land near water. Sieracki seamen are employees who perform maritime work, but do not meet benefit qualifications under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) or Jones Act.

Could I Be a Sieracki Seaman?

Any employee who is injured while aboard a vessel in navigable waters could have a potential maritime injury claim—whether he or she is a Jones Act seaman, Sieracki seaman, or is subject to the LHWCA. Since there are a variety of state and federal laws that may apply in your case, it is best to seek the advice of a maritime injury attorney to get the full amount of compensation you are owed.

You may be owed Sieracki seamen’s benefits if you:

Were injured due to a safety violation or defect of the ship.

The term "Sieracki seaman" was coined after a legal case (Seas Shipping Co. v. Sieracki) in which a seaman’s warranty of seaworthiness was extended to longshoremen injured aboard vessels. Although the LHWCA now excludes longshoreman from being designated as Sieracki seaman, other employees still retain the right to sue for injuries caused by unseaworthiness and negligence under general maritime law.

Perform a necessary function of the ship.

Courts have maintained that workers who perform a function essential to maritime service aboard are owed the warranty of seaworthiness, even if they are not covered by the LHWCA or other federal law. 

Perform work on a location other than a ship.

Seaman are required to spend 30 percent or more of their work time on a vessel or fleet of vessels in order to be eligible for Jones Act benefits. However, harbor pilots, stevedores, mechanics, welders, and other workers who do not have a permanent connection to one vessel may qualify as Sieracki seaman.

Are the spouse of a worker claiming Sieracki-seaman status.

The spouse of a Sieracki-seaman status may be able to recover for loss of consortium, loss of society, and other damages in a wrongful death case.

Have You Been injured In A Maritime Accident?

If you've been hurt in a maritime accident you need to speak with an experienced maritime attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our New York City office directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free consultation.

For more information on your case, be sure to download your complimentary copy of Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.


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