Moving over 500 million tons of cargo yearly, Louisiana dominates marine commerce all over America. As a natural consequence of this economic boom, the number of accidents occurring in the industry is sizable. The maritime industry is full of both opportunity and personal risk. When accidents happen, the resulting injuries can be severe or even fatal.
If you’re a Henry maritime employee who has been injured at work, you could be entitled to compensation or benefits if you meet specific conditions for eligibility. But maritime law can be complicated and difficult to understand at the best of times. A Henry maritime injury lawyer can help you seek compensation and guide you safely through the details of your injury claim.
Why Maritime Accidents Occur
There are many types of maritime accidents, and the reasons behind them can be just as varied. Below are some of the most common scenarios and factors behind maritime accidents:
Vessel disasters due to unseaworthiness
- Collision accidents (for example, longshoremen hit by forklifts)
- Fire due to mechanical malfunction
- Hypothermia after overboard falls
- Mechanical equipment breakdown
- Slips and falls
- Heavy cargo handling errors
You can always file an accident claim on your own, but you may not know the best way to approach a settlement. If you work with a Henderson maritime lawyer, you have someone you can count on to help you navigate the legal process.
For a free legal consultation with a maritime injury lawyer serving Henry, call (337) 777-7777
Seeking Accident Damages and Benefits
Ultimately, a lot of factors in your case can boil down to the type of maritime work you do. This dictates which legal path is appropriate for your accident claim.
The Jones Act (Seamen)
American workers generally depend on insurance to cover them for a workplace accident. However, if you are a seaman, you can sue your employer directly for damages in certain cases.
Each state has a statute of limitations for all types of personal injury cases. In Louisiana, you’re given three years to file your maritime accident claim under the Jones Act. Missing these deadlines can forfeit your chances of seeking compensation for your injuries, regardless of their severity.
What Damages Can I Seek Under the Jones Act?
As in most other personal injury cases, a successful maritime accident lawsuit can award you both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages might include:
- Current hospital bills
- Expected long-term medical expenses
- Physical therapy
- Mental health therapy costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of income potential
Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of ability to enjoy life
- Permanent disability
No matter what type of damages you’re dealing with, a Henry maritime accident lawyer can help you to seek those appropriate to your case.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Non-Seamen)
If you’re not a seaman, but you work for an employer engaged in a maritime business, you may file an accident claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. To receive LHWCA benefits, you must file no later than one year from your accident or the date you realized you had an injury (some injuries take awhile to surface).
Eligibility Test – Status and Situs
To be eligible for LHWCA accident benefits, you have to pass both the Status and the Situs tests. The Status test is concerned with your job as a maritime worker.
- To pass the Status test, your job must contribute to the company’s maritime nature.
- Examples of those who pass it are longshoremen, shipbuilders, and cargo container truck drivers.
- Even if these workers don’t actually set out to sea, they play an active role in the maritime transport process.
- The Situs test considers the physical location of the claimant.
- The main requirement is for the worker to be close to navigable water at the time of the accident.
- People who work in piers or dry docks, for example, can apply for LHWCA benefits.
The problem with the Status and Situs tests is the grey area that surrounds them. For example, according to the Situs test, a worker should be near navigable water during their accident. But how close exactly? What is the minimum distance from the water to the accident site before the injured can be considered eligible? A maritime accident lawyer can cut through this ambiguity.
Benefits You Could Pursue
Depending on the extent of your injuries, the LHWCA may award you benefits for temporary or permanent disability. Ideally, you could receive compensation for everything you’ve spent on treatment, including your transportation costs. If your injuries are so serious that you can no longer return to work, you could be a candidate for vocational rehabilitation.
Who Isn’t Eligible for LHWCA Benefits?
Just because someone was close to navigable water during their accident doesn’t mean they are automatically LHWCA-eligible. By default, the following aren’t eligible for accident benefits under the LHWCA:
- Employees of the U.S. or any foreign government
- Maritime workers covered by the Jones Act
- Office-based personnel (clerks, IT staff, security guards, etc.) even if they are working for a maritime company
- Recreational shipbuilders and ship workers
If you were intoxicated during your accident or if your injuries were self-sustained, you are also banned from receiving LHWCA benefits, even if you pass the Status and Situs tests.
Henry Maritime Injury Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
Hiring a Maritime Accident Lawyer Serving Henry
Unfortunately, people still sometimes believe the myth that it’s too expensive to hire a lawyer to represent you. The maritime injury lawyers at our firm don’t charge upfront fees or costs because they operate on a contingency basis. With this arrangement, you only pay legal fees if you receive compensation or benefits.
Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, we’re here to help. If you’re a Henry maritime worker who has been injured on the job, our lawyers are ready to take on the hard work of your case so you can focus on healing and recovering from your injuries. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.