Louisiana is one of the biggest employers of maritime workers in the country. Many people from Kenner are proud maritime workers. However, with all of that opportunity comes a lot of personal risks. The maritime industry can be very dangerous for those working in it. Maritime accidents can range from minor to devastating, just like the injuries resulting from them.
Maritime workers don’t typically qualify for traditional workers’ compensation. Instead, they have to file an injury claim or lawsuit to pursue compensation after a maritime accident. Filing a claim for compensation can be a nerve-wracking experience. A Kenner maritime injury lawyer can handle your case from start to finish so you can focus on healing from your injuries.
Types of Maritime Vessel Accidents
Negligence or recklessness can play a huge part in maritime accidents. However, there are other causes of maritime injuries, such as engine breakdowns, problems with electronic systems, and natural disasters. The most common types of maritime vessel accidents include:
- Cargo Ship Accidents:When ferrying dangerous materials such as chemicals, crude oil, or radioactive substances, the crew members must be properly trained and knowledgeable about handling these products safely.
- Oil Rig Accidents:An oil rig accident could include rig explosions, fires, capsizing, sinking, or oil spills.
- Tanker Accidents: Tankers usually hold between 10,000 and 20,000 barrels of oil. Because of their size, they can be challenging to maneuver. It makes them especially vulnerable to collisions with other ships, bridges, and piers.
- Barging Accidents:Barges are large ships that tow loads of material through rivers, lakes, and oceans. When barges collide with each other or objects like bridges, piers, or rocks, it can result in injuries for anyone aboard.
- Marine Collisions:Marine collisions can happen to any vessel from small fishing boats to massive container ships. If two ships collide, they can damage both vessels and injure or kill people on board.
For a free legal consultation with a maritime injury lawyer serving Kenner, call (337) 777-7777
What Should I Do After a Maritime Injury?
While the moments and days following a maritime accident can seem to go by in a blur, it’s crucial to take certain actions quickly.
- Seek proper medical attention. This is very important, even if your injuries seem minor. Waiting any length of time could make your injuries worse. Also, keep copies of all medical bills and documents. These will be important to your case.
- Report the accident. You must report the accident to your employer as soon as possible.
- Gather evidence. If you are physically able, you should take photos of the scene, write down any details you can remember in a notebook, and take down contact info from any eyewitnesses. If you aren’t physically able, your lawyer could do this for you.
- Don’t talk to anyone about your case or claim except your lawyer. Do not post on social media about it. Don’t sign any documents or accept any money or settlements without first speaking to your Kenner maritime injury attorney about it.
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Laws That Protect Maritime Workers
To protect the public from reckless behavior, maritime law requires specific standards of care. A shipowner is responsible for providing a safe place for his or her employees and crew to work. This means making sure the vessel is seaworthy, well-maintained, and that all the ship’s parts and equipment for in good repair. Your employer is responsible for ensuring that enough crewmembers are hired for the required tasks and that they are properly trained.
For example, if a vessel has lifeboats, the captain must ensure that everyone knows how to use them and that they are safe. If the lifeboat malfunctions and causes injury or loss of life, then the captain or shipowner could be liable for those injuries. A Kenner maritime injury lawyer could help you determine the responsible party for your injuries.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, allows seamen injured while working on American vessels to sue for compensation under federal law. (Similarly, seamen injured while working aboard foreign ships are entitled to similar benefits). Under the Jones Act, some form of negligence must have played a part in your accident. A Kenner maritime lawyer from our firm can help determine the responsible party.
To qualify to file a lawsuit under the Jones Act, you must be considered a seaman. This means you must work on a navigating vessel, contribute to its overall mission, and spend more than 30 percent of your time onboard.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is another federal law that protects maritime workers. The LHWCA covers maritime workers who aren’t considered seamen and would not qualify for the Jones Act.
This could include harbor workers, shipbuilders, ship repairers, some oil rig workers, and shipping terminal employees, as long as they work on or near navigable waters. Under the LHWCA, negligence does not have to be involved in your accident to pursue benefits.
Statutes of Limitations for the Jones Act and the LHWCA
The statutes of limitations (deadlines) for filing under these laws are strictly enforced. You must file within the time limits. Under the Jones Act, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of your accident and you must report the accident to your employer within just seven days.
Under the LHWCA, you must file your injury claim within one year of the accident and you must report the accident to your employer within 30 days. Remember that if you miss any of these deadlines, you could be giving up your right to pursue compensation. A Kenner maritime injury lawyer can ensure that all of your forms are filed on time.
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Can I Afford a Maritime Lawyer in Kenner?
Here at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, our maritime attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t have to worry about paying any upfront fees or costs out of pocket. If we win, and you receive compensation, your lawyer will simply take his or her fees out of a percentage of your total settlement package.
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Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love has suffered a maritime injury on the job, we can help. Let us handle your case so you can rest and recover. Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free case review.
Call or text (337) 777-7777 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form