Maritime workers do their jobs in an environment teeming with danger. Since they are regularly exposed to hazardous working conditions, accidents happen frequently and can result in life-altering injuries or even death. This is a risk maritime workers face every day simply doing their jobs.
Whether the accidents happen aboard a vessel, on a dock, or at a shipping terminal, these workers have the right to pursue compensation for any injury they suffer in their workplaces. If you’ve been in an accident while working on a ship or boat (or any maritime workplace on or near navigable water), a Marrero maritime injury lawyer can help.
Common Causes of Maritime Accidents
Maritime jobs involve heavy equipment, such as hoists, masts, anchors, and rafts. When these are used improperly, a lot of different kinds of accidents and injuries can happen. Employees should handle heavy equipment with the utmost care and new crew members should be properly trained before they use anything. Some other common causes of maritime accidents include:
- Negligence by employees and employers
- Working under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Fatigue from working too many hours without proper rest
- Natural causes, such as massive storm systems
- Inexperienced or untrained workers
- Slips and Falls
- Poor safety standards or lack of safety equipment
- Equipment malfunctions
For a free legal consultation with a maritime injury lawyer serving Marrero, call (337) 777-7777
Common Accidental Injuries for Maritime Workers
Below are a few injuries maritime workers are likely to suffer in case of an accident at their workplace:
- Serious head injuries, including concussion and traumatic brain injury
- Exposure to toxic materials and chemicals without using proper safety procedures
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of hearing from working around loud machinery
- Loss of limbs
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What Should I Do After a Maritime Accident?
When you’ve been injured in a maritime accident, your actions in the moments and days following can be crucial. Below are some things you should do after an injury to preserve your injury claim and even your health:
- Seek immediate medical attention. This is the first and most important thing you can do. Waiting any length of time can worsen injuries. If you are at sea when the injury occurs, and there is no physician on board, seek medical attention as soon as you arrive in port, or call the Coast Guard.
- Document everything. Keep copies of all medical bills and reports. These will be valuable evidence in your case.
- Make an official report. Report any injuries to your captain, your employer, or the senior officer on board. An official accident report must be made to pursue any kind of injury claim. Do this as soon as possible (see deadlines below).
- Gather evidence. If you are physically able, take photos and video of the scene, write down all the details you can remember in a notebook, and talk to anyone who may have witnessed your accident. If you are unable, a Marrero maritime injury lawyer can do this for you.
The Jones Act
Suppose you’re a qualified seaman and get an injury on the job due to someone else’s negligence. In that case, you can file a lawsuit against the liable party under the Jones Act. The Jones Act gives you the right to sue the responsible party for injuries and damages incurred. The liable party could be your employer, a coworker, or even the shipowner. To file a Jones Act, you must be considered a seaman. This refers to anyone who works on a navigable vessel and spends more than 30 percent of his or her time on board the ship.
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The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
If you don’t qualify as a seaman, you will likely be covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA is a federal law that provides compensation for damages or injuries on the job in navigable waters or adjoining areas. If the injury causes an employee’s death, the LHWCA offers survivor benefits to their families. Maritime workers covered by this act can include:
- Longshore workers (those who load and offload cargo)
- Ship repairers
- Harbor construction workers
Deadlines to File Injury Claims
Under the Jones Act, you have three years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit, but you must report the accident to your employer within seven days. Under the LHWCA, you have up to one year to file your injury claim, and up to 30 days to report the accident to your employer.
How Can a Marrero Maritime Injury Lawyer Help?
It can be devastating to be involved in an accident at your place of work. When you’re hurt and feeling vulnerable, tackling an entire legal case by yourself can be overwhelming. Let us handle that stress for you. Our maritime injury lawyers serving Marrero could do the following for your case:
- Explain Your Rights: Your lawyer can answer all your questions and advise you on the right way to approach your case.
- Negotiate With Other Parties: Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company and your employer’s attorneys.
- File Your Claim: Your lawyer could help you with legal processes such as filing your claim properly and adhering to all deadlines.
- Represent You in Court: If your case proceeds to court, your lawyer can represent you.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Pursue?
Whether you are a deckhand, a dredge, a commercial fisherman, or a longshoreman, you have the right to pursue compensation for damages and benefits for any injuries sustained while at work. Some possible recoverable damages include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical care
- Punitive damages
- Loss of source of income
- Physical pain and suffering
A Marrero maritime injury lawyer from our firm can determine exactly which damages apply to your case, and offer legal counsel and advice throughout your case.
Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
If you’re a maritime worker or seaman and have been injured while working, our Marrero lawyers can help. We work on a contingency basis, so you don’t even have to worry about paying any upfront costs. If we win, and you get a settlement, we simply take our legal fees out of a percentage of your total settlement package. Let us handle the work of your injury claim so you can focus on rest and recovery. Call today to schedule a free consultation.