Maritime workers in Louisiana can be out at sea for long periods of time and often face many dangers as part of their job. Many of these brave seamen and maritime workers live right here in Lake Charles.
If you’re a seaman or other maritime worker and have been injured on the job, you may be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries. A Lake Charles Seaman Injury Lawyer from our firm can help you pursue compensation.
Common Seamen Injuries
We see a lot of injuries in our work with seamen. Some of the more common injuries include:
- Lung damage
- Loss of hearing
- Broken or crushed bones
- Hypothermia and frostbite
- Head injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
For a free legal consultation with a seaman injur lawyer serving Lake Charles, call (337) 777-7777
Seamen Injuries and Maritime Law
If you have suffered injuries while working on a ship or in a harbor, knowing where to turn may not be easy. The typical worker’s comp laws that govern land-based employees do not apply to maritime workers and seamen. Different federal laws govern maritime workers and it’s important to know a thing or two about them if you become injured. Here we will discuss some of the most critical aspects of these laws.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act provides that any seaman who suffers harm due to the fault of another person may sue that individual for their medical expenses. In addition, the Jones Act allows seamen to pursue compensatory damages. It means that you and your lawyer could seek damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and future earning capacity. The Jones Act does allow seamen to seek punitive damages as well, but these are rarely awarded.
Additionally, the Jones Act requires that the seaman prove that the defendant acted willfully, wantonly, or recklessly. In essence, some negligence must have contributed to your accident. For example, if an employer expects a crew member to work in unsafe conditions and the conditions cause that crew member to be injured, that crew member could sue the employer for compensation.
Jones Act Seaman Requirements
To file a Jones Act lawsuit, you must first meet several requirements. You must work on a navigating vessel (an oil rig does count as long as it has some form of controllable navigation), you must contribute to the overall mission of the vessel (for example, a passenger would not qualify), and you must spend at least 30 percent of your working hours onboard. A lake Charles seaman injury lawyer can determine whether you qualify.
The Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
Simply put, the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) covers all maritime workers except those who qualify for the Jones Act. It applies to dockers, harbor workers, stevedores, shipbuilders, ship repairers, and those who load and unload ships. For example, a docker who was injured loading cargo onto a barge would be covered by the LHWCA. Likewise, a ship captain injured while working on a cruise line would be covered by the Jones Act.
Under the LHWCA, you and your lawyer can pursue certain benefits after an injury. These include:
- Temporary total disability payments
- Permanent partial disability payments
- Vocational rehabilitation services
- Death benefits
It’s important to note that, unlike the Jones Act, you don’t need to prove negligence in an LHWCA injury claim. A Lake Charles seaman injury lawyer can answer all your questions and help decide which legal path is right for your specific situation.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations (deadlines) in Louisiana are taken very seriously. Missing any of them could mean forfeiting your right to seek compensation. When filing a lawsuit under the Jones Act, you must file within three years of the date of the accident (or three years from the date your injuries surfaced). In addition, you must notify your employer of the injury within just seven days of the accident.
Under the LHWCA, you have up to one year to file your injury claim, and up to 30 days from the date of the accident to notify your employer of your injury. A Lake Charles seaman injury lawyer can help make sure that all of your relevant paperwork is filled out properly and filed on time.
Lake Charles Seaman Injur Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
How a Lake Charles Seaman Injury Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer can help you understand the process of filing a claim under the Jones Act and the Longshoreman and Harbors Workers’ Compensation Act. Lawyers can also explain what kind of evidence you need for your claim and help you find that evidence. Your lawyer can speak to eyewitnesses, investigate your accident, and determine the at-fault party.
Your lawyer can handle all negotiations with the insurance adjuster and your employer’s attorneys. Your lawyer can give legal counsel and advice at every turn, explaining legal jargon you might find confusing, and keeping you up to date on any changes or developments in your case. In addition, your lawyer can represent you during the entire legal proceeding.
Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
When a seaman or maritime worker suffers a severe accident, it helps to know that their rights are being protected. At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, our attorneys are here to help. If you or someone close to you was injured in a maritime work-related accident, a Lake Charles seaman injury lawyer can help you seek compensation. Call today to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.