Businesses around the world rely upon Louisiana’s many shipyards to build the vessels needed to transport their goods. Though employment at these shipyards provides a comfortable living for thousands of people, shipyard workers risk their health and safety every day. Fortunately, if an accident happens while on the job, injured employees have the right to seek compensation.
While many shipyard employees are not covered by traditional workers’ compensation laws, a Lafayette shipyard accident lawyer could help you seek compensation through alternative legal action. This process may be confusing, but an injury attorney could explain how to file a claim under special federal laws applicable to maritime employees.
Protected Shipyard Injuries
Injuries are unfortunately common in shipyards. Even with proper procedures and training, accidents involving heavy vehicles, complex machinery, and dangerous construction equipment may nonetheless occur. For this reason, virtually any injury suffered by a shipyard employee could lead to a civil claim.
Generally, any injury that occurred during employment and required medical attention or time off work could be covered, even if a worker’s own actions played a role in causing the injury. Those unsure of whether an accident is covered may wish to contact a Lafayette shipyard accident attorney with any questions.
Common examples of shipyard injuries include:
- Crane accidents
- Welding burns
- Forklift accidents
- Slips and falls
- Falling tools
For a free legal consultation with a shipyard accident lawyer serving Lafayette, call (337) 223-9925
Shipyard Injury Claim Regulations
Shipyard worker injury claims are covered by a unique set of regulations. Traditional workers’ compensation laws provide injured employees in Louisiana with coverage for medical treatment and wage compensation, but these laws do not apply to shipyard workers. Instead, harmed maritime employees must pursue claims using special provisions provided in the federal Jones Act.
This Act operates like many workers’ compensation laws but gives control of ensuing cases to the Department of Labor. Those who work on or around vessels that travel on navigable waters can pursue compensation directly from their employees for medical treatment, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation. Though the Act specifically names “seamen” as the parties who qualify for coverage, this is a loosely defined term that includes shipyard workers.
A shipyard injury lawyer in Lafayette could work with injured people evaluate their claims and ensure that any awards adequately compensate their damages, such as the loss of wages or medical expenses. Occasionally, a claim may be denied or a settlement will not fully cover the damage sustained, but an attorney may be able to remedy this by presenting the case before an administrative judge.
Lafayette Shipyard Accident Lawyer Near Me (337) 223-9925
Iberia Parish Shipyard Injury Lawyer
Iberia Parish Comparative Fault Laws
Under Louisiana Civil Code Article 2323, when an accident occurs, the defendant’s liability will offset the plaintiff’s percentage of liability. In other words, if the victim bears some responsibility for their own accident, they may be held liable.
A jury will be instructed to assign a percentage of fault to each party involved, including the plaintiff. That same percentage will then be used to decrease the amount of compensation they receive. If the case is settled before going to trial, a plaintiff’s fault will also be considered during negotiations.
Plaintiffs who are concerned about how comparative negligence could impact the outcome of their shipyard accident case should consult with an Iberia Parish shipyard accident attorney. Often, they can still be compensated for their injuries.
Protection Through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) generally protects all ship workers who are seeking compensation for their injuries. This act even applies to shipyard workers who do not work directly on vessels.
The LHWCA may provide injured workers with payments for disability, medical treatments, rehabilitation, and medical related transportation costs. A seasoned shipyard accident lawyer in Iberia Parish may be able to help an injured worker understand how this law works in their favor.
The Duty of Maritime Employers
All maritime employers have a legal duty to ensure safe working conditions for each of their employees. Providing a safe work environment usually involves:
- Regular maintenance and inspection of equipment
- Making all the necessary repairs
- Conducting adequate background checks and alcohol and drug screenings on all employees
- Providing proper training and periodic evaluations to all employees
- Providing reasonable workloads
- Abiding by safety regulations such as those set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Providing enough lighting for a safe shipyard
- Posting adequate and easily visible warning signs
When an employer fails to take these actions, they may be acting negligently and putting their workforce at risk. When they do this, they should be held accountable for the injuries and damages that they cause. Individuals who have been harmed due to the negligence of their employer should contact a dedicated lawyer as soon as possible.
Ask a Lafayette Shipyard Accident Attorney for Help
Even after injuries heal and an employee is able to return to work, the effects of being hurt while on the clock remain. Many employees face medical bills and lost income from their time away from work. While shipyard workers cannot file a traditional workers’ compensation claim to compensate these losses, there is still a legal option to recover.
Filing a claim with the federal government can be intimidating, but a Lafayette shipyard accident lawyer may be able to help injured shipyard workers understand the law and properly present their case. Contact an experienced attorney to discuss your rights under the Jones Act and receive assistance with preparing and filing your claim.