Hazardous work environments and grueling demands on workers are part of Louisiana’s maritime industry. If you suffered a spinal cord injury while working in the maritime industry, your legal options for recovering compensation would differ from those available to typical workers.
Fortunately, one of two federal laws that protect injured maritime workers’ rights could cover you. A Lafayette maritime spinal cord injury lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can help you file a claim and pursue financial compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, reduced earning capacity, and other damages.
Financial Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury Caused by Maritime Work
An injury to the spinal cord can lead to severe, debilitating symptoms. You may suffer from pain, numbness, reduced mobility, or even paralysis. You may require significant medical intervention, including long-term rehabilitative care.
Spinal cord injuries are not only painful but also expensive. The cost of medical treatment combined with lost income from missed work can be a massive financial burden to an injured maritime worker. Compensation may be available for these expenses, but successfully recovering compensation can be challenging, especially when dealing with a major injury.
A maritime spinal cord injury lawyer in Lafayette, LA, can provide the legal support you need. At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, our personal injury attorneys know the obstacles many injured maritime workers face when pursuing financial compensation and how to overcome these obstacles.
Compensation for Medical Treatment and Ongoing Medical Needs
The spine is one of the most important parts of the body, and the results of a spinal cord injury can be significant. Many spine injury sufferers require medication, surgery, and physical therapy. Severe spinal cord injuries may necessitate adaptive devices for communication or assistive devices such as braces or wheelchairs.
You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses related to the following:
- Hospital stays
- Ambulance transportation
- Diagnostic testing
- Emergency room treatment
- Rehabilitative care
- Medical devices and equipment
- Other medical needs
Compensation for Your Lost Income
A spine injury will most likely keep someone temporarily or permanently out of work. Depending on the nature of the injury and your position in the maritime industry, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost income. You may also be entitled to compensation for future lost income and lost earning capacity.
Laborde Earles injury was great for me they took care of me very fast and professional. If for any reason I need legal help they will be who I use.Client
A Maritime Spinal Cord Injury Attorney in Lafayette, LA, Can Help You Understand Your Legal Rights
Maritime workers are not covered under traditional workers’ compensation laws. The two primary laws regulating injured maritime workers’ access to compensation are the following:
- The Jones Act
- The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
The first step in understanding the amount and type of compensation you could receive is determining which federal law your situation falls under. Consult a workers’ compensation lawyer in Lafayette, LA, who is experienced in maritime law to understand better how these regulations impact your case.
The Jones Act Applies to Injured Seamen
46 U.S.C. 30104, called the Jones Act, is a federal law that gives certain maritime workers the right to recover compensation for injuries.
The Jones Act applies to seamen who spend at least 30% of their time working on a ship or boat that travels navigable waters. The following individuals are typically considered seamen:
- Commercial fishermen
- Commercial divers
- Crew members on vessels
- Tug and barge crew members
- Cruise ship staff
A person who brings a lawsuit under the Jones act must file it within three years of the injury.
‘Maintenance and Cure’ Claims Under the Jones Act
If you suffered an injury while working as a seaman on a vessel, you may be able to recover compensation through a “maintenance and cure” claim. Maintenance and cure claims provide compensation for an injured maritime worker’s daily expenditures and medical expenses.
You do not need to prove your employer or another party acted negligently to recover maintenance and cure compensation. You must only prove you meet the definition of a seaman and that your injuries were related to maritime work on a vessel.
Compensation for an Injury Caused by Negligence
Maritime employers must take appropriate measures to prevent avoidable injuries. This includes ensuring a reasonably safe working environment free of risks such as defective equipment or obvious slip and fall hazards.
If your employer acted negligently and you were injured because of this negligence, you may have a second option for recovering compensation. You may be able to file an “unseaworthiness” claim and recover compensation above and beyond what is available through a maintenance and cure claim.
An unseaworthiness claim may allow for the recovery of medical bills, lost income, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. An offshore spinal cord injury lawyer from our law firm can help you determine if an unseaworthiness claim is possible in your case. We will do everything we can to maximize your financial recovery.
The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Covers Longshoremen and Other Workers
Maritime workers who do not qualify as seamen under the Jones Act typically qualify for work injury coverage under the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The LHWCA may cover you if you work as a:
- Ship repairer
- Another worker engaged in work related to water and marine transport
Compensation available through the LHWCA is based on a percentage of your average weekly wage or a schedule that pays benefits based on what body part was injured. Depending on the severity of your injury and the amount of time it takes you to recover from the injury, you could be entitled to:
- Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits
- Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits
- Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits
- Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits
In addition to compensation for your lost income, you may also be reimbursed for any medical expenses incurred by the work injury.
We Help Injured Workers Who Were Denied LHWCA Benefits
If your employer or the insurance company denies you compensation or tries to downplay the severity of your spinal cord injury, our Lafayette maritime spinal cord injury lawyers can help. We will advocate strongly on your behalf and fight for compensation through all the available legal avenues.
I thank God for Digger & David. I don’t know what we would have done if it hadn’t have been for them.Rick Smith | Client
Contact a Lafayette Maritime Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer for Personalized Assistance
Maritime workers play a crucial role in our economy and society. If you suffered injuries while working in a maritime job, our law firm can protect your rights and help you pursue financial compensation.
Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers offer a free initial consultation so that you can explore your legal options. Call us today so that we can learn more about your situation and how we can help.