The Louisiana maritime industry may be booming, but it’s also full of personal risk. Accidents can be catastrophic, and the resulting injuries can be life-threatening. If you’ve been hurt while working as a maritime employee, even if the injury may seem like a minor one, you may qualify for compensation or benefits, depending on how the accident happened.
However, the laws that govern this industry can be complicated, not to mention constantly evolving. A Lake Charles maritime injury lawyer can walk you through an injury claim and explain anything that confuses you.
What Causes Maritime Accidents?
Maritime work can be exciting and lucrative, but the risks involved are high. Still, the industry is vital to our economy, especially in Louisiana which has one of the largest numbers of maritime workers in the country.
If you’ve been injured while doing your job, it can help to know all of the factors behind your accident. These reasons can affect your chances of receiving compensation or benefits, especially if any negligence was involved. Some of the most common causes of maritime accidents can include:
- Faulty equipment
- Lack of proper training
- Fatigue from overwork
- Slip and falls
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals
- Fires and electrical accidents
- Repetitive tasks that can cause damage to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and joints
For a free legal consultation with a maritime injury lawyer serving Lake Charles, call (337) 777-7777
What Kind of Compensation Can I Pursue?
What you may be able to receive after your maritime accident essentially boils down to the type of work you do in the industry. Your job description also decides whether you should be filing an injury lawsuit or a claim from the appropriate government agency. A Lake Charles maritime injury lawyer can help you determine which path is right for you.
The Jones Act
The average American worker generally relies on workers’ compensation when they’re injured at work. However, if you’re a seaman—or someone who works on a ship in navigation for a significant amount of time—you have the right to file an injury lawsuit against your employer directly.
This is done under the Jones Act. By “ship in navigation,” the Jones Act refers to when the ship is in the ocean, river, or any navigable body of water. The “significant amount of time” onboard means at least 30% of your time.
You Could Be Awarded Money For Your Damages
The maritime industry can be a difficult one to navigate, with many potential pitfalls that could cause you harm. So, when someone else’s negligence ends up injuring you, you could be compensated.
A large portion of that compensation is for economic damages. These are costs and expenses that you can measure. They have a specific monetary amount attached to them, and you can usually provide proof with a receipt, estimate, or invoice. Here are a few examples of economic damages you might have after a maritime injury:
- Hospital stays or emergency room visits
- Ambulance costs
- Prosthetics, wheelchair, or other equipment
- X-rays and MRIs
- Lab work
- Prescription medication
- Loss of wages during your recovery
- Reduced potential income due to a disability
- Lost household income due to a wrongful death
You can also seek non-economic damages—these won’t usually come with a receipt. Examples of this would be pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, or trauma.
If a maritime worker was killed at a maritime job due to another person’s negligence, then family members can seek reimbursement for loss of companionship under the Jones Act. Obviously, this money doesn’t bring back the loved one you’ve lost. But it can provide you with the strength and resources to face the future with confidence. A Lake Charles maritime lawyer can gently guide you and answer all of your questions.
Lake Charles Maritime Injury Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
Injured maritime workers who do not meet the legal definition of a “seaman” can’t sue their employer under the Jones Act. Instead, they can file for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The LHWCA provides benefits to injured maritime employees who are not covered by the Jones Act. These can include longshoremen, dock workers, and even those who work in shipyards and shipping terminals.
- The benefits can range from short-term to permanent disability.
- They often cover all your injury-related medical treatment.
- If your injury stops you from working, you may get rehabilitation benefits to help you find a new job.
- To receive these LHWCA benefits, you are required to file an accident report with your employer within 30 days of the date of your accident.
- The time can also start from the day you realized you’ve been injured (sometimes injuries can take some time to surface).
- You must file your injury compensation claim within one year of the date of your accident.
- If you are a seaman filing under the Jones Act, you have up to three years to file and must report the accident to your employer within seven days.
Tests for Eligibility
The Status and Situs Tests are the two key measures of qualifying a maritime employee for LHWCA accident benefits. The test requires the claimant’s job to actively contribute to the maritime nature of their employer’s business, for example:
On the other hand, the Situs Test calls for the injured maritime employee to be near navigable water during the accident. A Lake Charles maritime injury lawyer can explain this and other vital issues surrounding your claim.
Call a Lake Charles Maritime Injury Lawyer at Laborde Earles Today
Maritime law is complex, and making it work for you can require significant knowledge. If you’re injured, feeling vulnerable, and under stress, the monumental task of handling your own legal injury claim can be overwhelming. Our lawyers can help. Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today, and we can arrange a free consultation.
A maritime injury attorney from our firm can guide you through the entire legal process. You don’t even have to worry about the cost. We work on a contingency basis and won’t charge any legal fees unless we win your settlement, and you receive compensation. Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today.