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Injured workers’ claims arising out of the Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup will be governed by three sets of laws: the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and state workers’ compensation laws. Here is a detailed analysis of when each set of laws might apply to an injured workers involved in the oil spill clean up.

The Jones Act will be used to compensate seamen who are injured during the cleanup. In order to be classified as a seaman a worker’s duties “must contribute to the function of the vessel or the accomplishment of its mission,” and the employee must have a “connection to a vessel in navigation (or to an identifiable group of such vessels) that is substantial in terms of both duration and nature.” The workers who are hired for the seaside portion of the oil spill cleanup should meet these requirements because the mission of the vessel will be to aid in the cleanup efforts and the employees will presumably be working for a single boat or a single company with a fleet of boats.

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