The U.S. Department of Labor has named Louisiana the country’s top maritime employer over the last several years. While this may seem to paint a rosy future for the industry, it also hints at a far less reassuring fact: the Pelican State also has most of the maritime accidents every year.
If you’re a Meaux-based maritime worker who has sustained injuries as part of your job, you may be entitled to medical, emotional, and financial benefits. A Meaux maritime injury lawyer from our firm can help.
Understanding Maritime Accidents and Their Causes
Maritime work has a number of occupational hazards that can quickly translate to accidents under the right conditions. Here are some of the most common reasons behind maritime mishaps occurring on high seas or at a pier:
- Poor ship maintenance or general unseaworthiness
- Carbon dioxide poisoning and oxygen deprivation
- Electrical fires resulting from poorly maintained equipment
- Unqualified or poorly trained crew members
- Chemical poisoning due to toxic chemical contact, inhalation, or ingestion
- Slips and falls
- Moving objects and improperly secured gear
- Human error
- Natural disasters
It’s important to know the actual factors behind your accident because they could have an impact on your right to file a claim or lawsuit, as well as the actual compensation or benefits you can receive. In some instances, you may need to prove that someone else (your employer, the shipowner, or even coworkers) was at fault. A lawyer serving Meaux can help pinpoint the at-fault party.
For a free legal consultation with a maritime injury lawyer serving Meaux, call (337) 777-7777
Common Maritime Injuries
Maritime accidents can range from minor to catastrophic, and so can the resulting injuries. Some of the most common can include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including concussion and traumatic brain injury
- Loss of hearing, due to working around loud machinery without protection
- Hypothermia and frostbite, due to exposure to extreme weather conditions
- Lung damage from exposure to toxic chemicals
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries from pushing, pulling, twisting, and lifting
Meaux Maritime Injury Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
The Jones Act
If you’re a ship captain, a cook, or anyone who works aboard a navigable sea vessel, and you spend more than 30% of your time on board the ship, you are considered a seaman. This means you may file a civil lawsuit against your employer to pursue compensation. This right is given to you by the Jones Act. However, under the Jones Act, you must prove that someone else’s negligence played a part in your accident.
Thanks to the Jones Act, suing your employer for your injuries affords you a greater sense of control over your situation, but it can also be unnerving if you don’t have any background in maritime law. A Meaux maritime injury lawyer can explain everything confusing and guide you throughout your claim, offering solid legal counsel and advice.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
If you work for a maritime company but not as a seaman (which would otherwise cover you under the Jones Act), you may be entitled to benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
However, being a dock worker, shipping terminal employee, or harbor worker doesn’t mean you are automatically qualified for compensation under the LHWCA. There are other factors an LHWCA examiner will consider, but the main things they look for are the degree of actual sea engagement entailed by your job and where exactly your accident occurred within or around the maritime environment.
Additionally, these two tests will help determine if you are eligible for LHWCA benefits:
1. Status Test
If your work takes place on or near any navigable body of water (for example, loading and offloading ship cargo or building marinas) you may be eligible for LHWCA accident benefits. Otherwise, you are not, even if you’re employed by a maritime company, such as when you work as a clerk or an office janitor.
2. Situs Test
Where your accident happened can also be crucial in terms of your LHWCA eligibility, and the Situs Test determines this. Even if you passed the Status Test, you still have to prove that your accident happened while you were on top of or in close proximity to navigable waters, such as in a dry dock or a pier.
A maritime injury attorney serving Meaux can help you determine if you qualify for LHWCA benefits and guide you through your injury claim process.
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Potential Benefits Under the LHWCA
If you do meet all the qualifications, you could receive LHWCA benefits after a work injury. As part of your benefits, the LHWCA could cover all the medical costs related to your injury, as long as they were vital to your recovery. This could include emergency room treatment, physical therapy, prosthetics, or prescription medication.
The LHWCA could also entitle you to vocational rehabilitation benefits if a medical doctor certifies that your injuries make you incapable of performing the duties in your last job.
Statutes of Limitations
Under the Jones Act, you have up to three years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit. If your injuries took some time to surface, you may file within three years of the date you first noticed those injuries. In addition, you must report the accident to your employer within just seven days.
Under the LHWCA, you have one year from the date of the accident to file your injury claim, and you must report the injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident.
If you miss any of these deadlines, you could give up your right to pursue any compensation at all. When you’re injured and in pain, time can slip by, and the deadlines come up before you know it. It’s best to report and file as soon as possible. A Meaux maritime injury lawyer can help you file all paperwork properly and on time.
Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
If you’re a seaman or maritime worker and have been injured on the job, we can help. We can handle the stress and hard work of your case so you can rest and recover from your injuries. In addition, our lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means you don’t have to worry about upfront costs. If we win and you get compensation, we simply take our expenses out of a percentage of your total settlement package. Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers for a free consultation today.