Working as a seaman is a popular way of earning a living in Lawtell, Louisiana. The pay can be excellent and it can be thrilling to work out on the water. However, with these adventures always come significant risks. The risks associated with the maritime industry are very high. When accidents happen, those involved can suffer severe (or even fatal) injuries.
Even though seamen don’t have the same protection as other professions, there are federal laws that protect them in case of an injury. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a maritime accident, a Lawtell seaman injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation.
How Seaman Injuries Happen
The most common causes of seaman injuries include:
- Crushing accidents
- Unseaworthiness of the vessel
- Using defective equipment
- Neglecting to follow procedures and safety protocol
- Lack of safety signage
- Drowning accidents
- Slip and falls
For a free legal consultation with a seaman injury lawyer serving Lawtell, call (337) 777-7777
How to File a Lawtell Seaman Injury Claim
After a seaman injury, you can file your claim under the Jones Act or The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act depending on the circumstances.
Am I Covered By the Jones Act?
Legally determining whether you’re a seaman is the first place to start. Generally, a seaman is anyone who spends most of their time working onboard a vessel. These can be fishers, deckhands, ship officers, oil rig workers, engineers, or general crew members.
The Jones Act is a federal law. It allows seamen injured while on duty to file claims against their employers and recover compensation for their damages. It’s up to you and your lawyer to prove that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. To qualify as a Jones Act seaman, you need to:
1. Spend Most of Your Time Working on the Vessel
As a seaman, you must spend most of your time actively contributing to the operations of your vessel to qualify for a claim under the Jones Act. According to the law, you must spend at least 30% of your time onboard an “in navigation” vessel to file a Jones Act lawsuit.
2. Your Vessel is In Navigation
“In Navigation” is a legal term used to refer to an afloat vessel capable of moving, in operation, and operating on navigable waters. While a vessel tied up at a dock or mooring is considered “in navigation,” one that’s out of the water (in a drydock or up on blocks) is not. On the other hand, “navigable waters” refers to huge water bodies such as lakes, rivers, or seas, which can support foreign or interstate commerce.
Vessels comprise boats, cruise ships, and others to navigate large water bodies. An oil rig that has some form of onboard navigation can count as a Jones Act vessel. Oil rigs and platforms that are stationary would not qualify. Your Lawtell seaman injury lawyer can determine if your situation qualifies for the Jones Act.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
If you have sustained maritime injuries and cannot file your claim under the Jones Act, you can likely still file under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). It’s also a federal law that helps employees injured on the job.
The LHWCA ensures that maritime workers can receive medical care, vocational rehabilitation, and other financial compensations to help them improve the state of their lives after an injury. The amount of money recoverable under this act depends on the extent of your injuries and how they’ve affected your life.
The LHWCA covers traditional maritime employees who work on or adjacent to navigable waterways, such as ship-repairers, shipbuilders, stevedores, dockworkers, shipping terminal employees, and harbor construction workers. A Lawtell seaman injury lawyer can tell you more and determine which damages apply to your situation.
Deadlines for Filing Seaman Injury Claims
Under the Jones Act, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the injury. You must also notify your employer of the accident within just seven days. Under the LHWCA, you have up to one year from the date of the accident to file your injury claim and must notify your employer of the accident within 30 days. Your Lawtell seaman injury lawyer can make sure all of your paperwork is filed properly and on time.
Lawtell Seaman Injury Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
How Can a Lawtell Seaman Injury Lawyer Help?
While you don’t have to have a lawyer to file an injury claim, maritime law is complex and hard to understand at the best of times. When you’re in pain, it can be hard to focus on details and easy to make costly mistakes. A Lawtell seaman injury attorney can handle your case while you rest and recover in the comfort of your own home. A lawyer can help you with time-consuming tasks like these:
Investigating to Determine Who the At-Fault Party Is
Assuming you want to file your seaman injury claim under the Jones Act, you have to prove someone else acted negligently, leading to your injuries. The first usual suspect is your employer, but this is not always the case. Other parties might be at fault, including the technicians tasked with maintaining and repairing the vessel or the vessel’s manufacturer. A lawyer can analyze your case and find out who is responsible and how to prove it.
Collecting and Presenting Evidence
In seamen injury cases like these, how well you present your evidence can determine how much money you recover in compensation. With the help of an attorney, you can keep tabs on your medical and out-of-pocket expenses.
Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance adjuster and your employer’s legal team so you don’t have to.
Providing Legal Representation
Your attorney can represent you if a settlement can’t be reached and your case goes to trial. Hiring a lawyer can give you peace of mind. You know that someone else is fighting on your behalf as you continue to recover.
Recoverable Damages from a Seaman Injury Claim
Depending on the extent of your seaman injuries, you and your Lawtell seaman injury lawyer can pursue damages for:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost earning capacity
- Future medical bills
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Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers are always on your side. Our Lawtell seaman injury attorneys can analyze your case and advise you on the best way forward. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.