In 1953, Congress passed the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, or OCSLA, to provide many of the same benefits and protections as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) but aimed specifically at maritime employees working on the Outer Continental Shelf who are not covered under the Jones Act.
Who Is Covered by OCSLA?
The OCSLA defines the Outer Continental Shelf as all submerged lands lying seaward of state submerged lands and waters (starting at 3 nautical miles offshore) which are under U.S. jurisdiction and control. It encompasses:
- The subsoil and seabed of the Outer Continental Shelf
- Structures on the OCS used to transport resources
Offshore facilities that are temporarily or permanently connected to the seabed, constructed on the seabed to explore, extract, develop, or remove the natural resources found on the OCS are also protected areas. These can include:
- Artificial islands
- Floating production and processing systems
- Loading and off-loading systems
- Storage facilities
- Oil rigs
- Wind turbines
- Natural gas extraction rigs
- Floating dry docks
Oil rig workers, longshoremen, mechanics, harbor workers, and ship builders/repairers are some of the occupations protected by the OCSLA.
Filing an OCSLA Claim
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act only applies in specific circumstances. For instance, a worker must have been injured or become ill while on a job site located within the boundaries of the Outer Continental Shelf to be eligible for OCSLA compensation. Injured OCS workers can claim these benefits no matter who was at fault for the accident that caused their injuries.
An OCSLA claim can include compensation for medical costs, disability payments and rehabilitation costs for workers injured on the OCS. The OCSLA also provides benefits to families of employees who were killed while working on the OCS.
Before filing an OCSLA claim, it must first be determined if the claim belongs in state or federal court. If the injury or illness happened while the employee was inside the three mile boundary, their case will probably be heard in state court. The state nearest to where the accident occurred will have jurisdiction in the case.
Outside the three mile limit, it’s a federal matter. Exceptions include accidents or illnesses that occur in Texas, Florida, or Louisiana, whose boundary waters extend beyond the three mile limit. (In Texas, it’s nine miles.)
Our Houston OCSLA Attorneys Can Help with Your Claim
The Houston OCSLA attorneys at The Ammons Law Firm have been helping offshore workers who have become injured or ill while working on the Outer Continental Shelf for more than 20 years. We work with injured maritime workers throughout the United States. If you were injured or a loved one was killed while working at a jobsite on the Outer Continental Shelf, please do not hesitate to seek our assistance to file an OCSLA claim.
Contact The Ammons Law Firm to set up a no obligation consultation meeting with one of our experienced Houston OCSLA claim attorneys. We will discuss your case and provide experienced legal advice on the best way to move forward with your claim. Our offshore injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means there are no up-front costs to our clients and we don’t get paid unless and until we’ve won your case.