The maritime industry is the focal point of transportation for all kinds of goods worldwide. At the same time, it provides some of the most challenging jobs ever worked on the planet, occupations accompanied by hazards exclusive to the high seas that have often translated into serious maritime accidents.
If you are a seaman and have been injured on the job, you could be eligible for compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses. A LaPlace seaman injury lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the uniqueness and complexity of maritime law as you seek compensation.
Common Causes of Maritime Accidents
A lot of things can lead to an accident when working on the water. Here are the most common causes of maritime injuries we see in our line of work with seamen:
- Slips and falls
- Toxic chemical contact, inhalation, or ingestion
- Moving and falling objects
- Poor ventilation in enclosed spaces
- Lack of safety signage
- Defective or malfunctioning equipment
- Understaffing and negligent staffing practices
- Bad weather and natural disasters
- Vessel safety non-compliance
- Unsafe personnel transfer methods
For a free legal consultation with a seaman injury lawyer serving LaPlace, call (337) 777-7777
Federal Laws That Help After a Seaman Accident
Maritime laws in the U.S. affect all American seacraft and foreign ships operating in the U.S. Two federal laws that may weigh the heaviest on your maritime accident lawsuit are the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The Jones Act
In most land-based jobs, you can count on workers’ compensation if you get injured on the job. However, this does not apply to maritime workers. The Jones Act gives injured seamen the authority to sue their employers directly for compensation.
If you work on any navigating sea vessel, contribute to its overall mission, and spend at least 30 percent of your working time on board, you are considered a seaman and qualify for the Jones Act.
While it can sound empowering for an accident victim, filing a civil lawsuit against your employer can be a long and tedious job. Your LaPlace seaman injury lawyer can handle all the details and explain anything you find confusing.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
If you’re a maritime worker who wouldn’t qualify as a Jones Act seaman, you may qualify for benefits under the LHWCA.
Status Test vs. Situs Test
The LHWCA is a bit more complicated than you might think. Qualifying for benefits goes beyond not being a ship captain or crew member. Crucial to your LHWCA claim is the Status and Situs tests, which you must pass before filing a claim:
The Status Test
Active engagement in maritime work is the main requirement of the Status Test. If you work for a maritime employer in a position that isn’t maritime, such as a secretary, office maintenance personnel, or security guard, you aren’t qualified to receive LHWCA benefits. Neither are:
- Maritime workers already covered by the Jones Act
- U.S. government and foreign government workers
- Recreational shipbuilders and aquaculture workers
- Marina employees not directly involved in marina construction, replacement, or expansion work
The Situs Test
The Situs Test considers the physical location where your accident occurred. To be covered by the LHWCA, your accident has to happen in or near navigable waters. Examples of sites that may qualify you for this test are marine railways, piers, dry docks, building ways, and any other structures close or adjacent to the water where vessels are loaded, unloaded or repaired. A LaPlace seaman injury lawyer can determine exactly which federal law applies to your case.
Recoverable Damages and Benefits
If you meet the Status and Situs tests, the types of LHWCA monetary benefits you could pursue as compensation range from temporary to permanent disability. If you qualify for the above benefits, they can cover all your medical expenses as long as you prove they were reasonable and necessary.
They’ll also reimburse you for your mileage and other transportation expenses incurred while receiving your treatments. If you’re no longer physically able to work at your job, the insurance company can compensate you for the loss of potential income.
LaPlace Seaman Injury Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
Deadlines to File
Under the Jones Act, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the injury and you must report the accident to your employer within just seven days. Under the LHWCA, you must file within one year of the date of your accident and you must report it to your employer within 30 days of the accident.
How a LaPlace Seaman Injury Lawyer Can Help
Maritime Law is complex and can be complicated for someone not familiar with it. When you’re injured, in pain, and under stress, details can get hazy and you can make mistakes easily. A LaPlace seaman injury lawyer can take that stress off your shoulders and handle all the work while you rest and recover. Your lawyer can:
- Investigate your accident and determine the responsible party
- Gather evidence and speak to eyewitnesses
- Work with your doctors and specialists to discover how much your future treatment could cost
- Determine which damages you qualify for and calculate your settlement
- Negotiate with the insurance company and your employer’s legal team
- Keep you updated on any developments or changes in your case
- Represent you in court if an appropriate settlement can’t be reached
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Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, we proudly serve the seamen and maritime workers of the LaPlace area and their families. Call today to schedule a free consultation. We can confidentially discuss your case, go over your options, and make a plan to move forward.