Occupations Excluded From State Workers Comp Laws


Some industries have special workers compensation laws that are not administered by state agencies. These would include railroad, fishing, fish processing, longshore, harbor workers, nuclear energy workers, coalminers, federal workers, and military service members who are injured on active duty including National Guard and Reserve members who were serving on active duty at the time of the disability or disease.

Railroad Workers' Injuries

Railroad workers claims are administered under the U.S. Department of Labor, pursuant to the Federal Employer's Liability Act ("FELA"). In addition to providing a compensation scheme for railroad workers, FELA, which Congress passed in 1907, also induces the railroad industry to promote safe workplace practice to reduce the number of injuries.

To receive compensation for an on the job injury, a railroad worker must prove their case under FELA. The law requires proof that the worker's injury was caused in whole or in part by the negligence of the railroad or by the conduct of another employee. FELA awards are reduced by the percentage of the injured worker's negligence, if any.

Injuries at Sea and Others

Employees injured while on a boat or at sea, are usually protected under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a Federal Statute intended to extend to seaman the protections similarly afforded to railroad workers. The law allows an injured seaman to bring a lawsuit against his or her employer for negligent acts of the employer or a fellow crewmember.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides occupational injury and disease benefits to occupations such as a longshoreman, vessel repairman, boilermaker working by a navigable waterway, pipe fitter by a navigable waterway, or oilrig worker, who are not covered under the Jones Act.

The LHWCA fills this gap and provides benefits to injured workers separate from state worker's compensation laws. The employer does not have to be ruled to be at fault for the worker's injury to be liable for the claim. Other occupations with special protections may include coal miners and nuclear energy workers.