Your rights as an injured gambling boat worker in South Carolina

| Jan 7, 2020 | Firm News

Working on one of the casino ships that pull into port in South Carolina can be an enjoyable and lucrative career decision. Whether you help operate the boat or provide customer service and assistance to the guests on the ship, you may be able to earn a substantial wage, as well as direct gratuities or your share of pool gratuities in certain circumstances.

People are usually willing to pay quite a bit to enjoy a good time in a space that they view as outside of the law. Most people understand that gambling ships are able to legally operate even in states without legal gambling because they move out into international waters not governed by domestic law. The gambling doesn’t take place in port or in the waters close to shore governed by state and federal authorities.

Instead, those looking for fun on a gambling ship must wait until the boat reaches a certain point in its trip before they can hit the casino floor. Those same legal loopholes that allow your employer to conduct a gambling business and your customers to enjoy an otherwise illegal activity leave you in a vulnerable position if you get hurt while doing your job out on the open ocean.

Those working at sea don’t qualify for workers’ compensation

Workers’ compensation is a state-run program that differs from state to state. The benefits a worker might receive in South Carolina will vary somewhat from the benefits available in North Carolina or Georgia.

Regardless of what port your employer’s ship calls home, if you get hurt while the boat is out on open water, you likely can’t bring a workers’ compensation claim in the state where the ship docks. The injury must occur within the state in order for workers’ compensation protections to apply. Thankfully, Congress has already taken action to close that gap in protections that could leave maritime workers unnecessarily vulnerable to the costs associated with workplace injuries.

The Jones Act provides another option for compensation

The Jones Act, passed as part of the Maritime Merchant Act by Congress in 1920, regulates trade in American ports. It also provides a system for the protection of injured workers if their injuries occur at sea.

Under The Jones Act, an injured employee can seek many of the same protections available to them through workers’ compensation. However, claiming compensation through the Jones Act is often much more complex than the simple and straightforward process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits.

Getting the right help early in the process if you suffer an injury as a maritime worker can make the difference between getting the compensation you need and struggling to provide for yourself and your family.