Most maritime workers do not receive the same workers’ compensation benefits as onshore workers. However, federal and state laws still protect them. Maritime accidents can occur offshore in work environments involving vessels and heavy equipment. If you have suffered a maritime injury, it’s important to understand your rights.
A New Iberia maritime attorney with Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can assist you in suing your employer for the damages you’ve suffered. In addition, our team can gather evidence to support your claim or lawsuit and fight for you in court if we don’t achieve a fair settlement.
When you call or fill out the online form, we can review your claim during a free consultation.
Maritime Injuries and Possible Damages
Maritime professionals are essential to keeping our nation running. U.S. federal laws offer protections to help these workers obtain monetary compensation when hurt in the workplace. These protections can also help surviving family members if a loved one is fatally wounded.
Common maritime injuries in the workplace that could lead to a claim include:
- Head injuries
- Loss of mobility
- Broken bones
- Amputation of limbs or digits
- Occupational illnesses or diseases
- Toxic exposure
- Electric shock
- Neck, back, or spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Cuts, bruises, and burns
- Slip and fall injuries
After being injured in an offshore accident or another work-related incident, you may be entitled to recover damages.
Depending on your job and the circumstances surrounding the incident, you can seek financial compensation to cover various damages, including:
- Medical care costs: All past and future costs, including doctor visits, surgical procedures, medication, diagnostic testing, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages: Wages you would have earned during the recovery process that prevented you from working.
- Pain and suffering: The accident’s mental, emotional, and physical toll.
- Loss of enjoyment: The loss of the ability to enjoy life or activities you participated in before your injury or illness.
Securing professional legal representation can improve your chances of obtaining a fair settlement. One of our experienced maritime accident lawyers can help you understand the full value of your injury and related damages.
Laborde Earles injury was great for me they took care of me very fast and professional. If for any reason I need legal help they will be who I use.Client
A General Overview of Maritime Injury Laws
Any job-related condition that requires medical treatment or causes a maritime employee to miss work could be the basis of a maritime injury claim. As noted earlier, workers’ compensation insurance policies do not protect maritime workers. However, several federal laws do.
When our New Iberia personal injury lawyer reviews your potential claim, they will determine if you can file it under any of the legal options listed below:
The Jones Act
Because offshore workers have no protections under traditional workers’ compensation laws, they may sue their employer directly under the Jones Act (46 U.S.C. 30104).
Any worker on a seafaring vessel is considered a maritime worker and eligible as a “seaman” under the act. This act defines a seaman as any worker on a vessel who navigates rivers, oceans, or offshore waters.
Examples of offshore vessels include:
- Floating barges
- Diving vessels
- Cruise ships
- (Jack-up) drilling rigs
- Cargo ships
- Fishing boats
- Other work-related water-worthy crafts
Under the Jones Act, you can file a formal lawsuit against your employer if you experience an on-the-job accident or injury due to their negligence or that of a crewmember.
The law is in place to ensure that employers maintain a safe work environment that prevents severe injuries and fatal accidents. Your maritime accident must result in a severe or permanent injury or disability to file a claim under the Jones Act.
Proving Seaman’s Eligibility and Filing a Jones Act Claim
When filing a claim under the Jones Act, you must first confirm your eligibility as a seaman and prove this status. Next, there will be documents to prepare, and your documentation’s completeness could influence the compensation you receive.
When possible, make sure to collect the following:
- A copy of the accident report
- Notes and contact information from accident witnesses
- Medical bills related to your injury or accident
- Medical reports linking your condition to the accident
- Out-of-pocket receipts, including those for medication and transportation expenses
These are the steps to take when filing a claim:
- File a claim with your employer’s insurance company
- Supply proof of your damages and injuries
- Show that the harm you suffered was the result of negligence by your employer or a crewmember
Three Years To File
U.S. Code 46 § 30106 outlines the Jones Act’s statute of limitations. It states that individuals must file a formal civil action within three years of an incident. So, while you don’t have to see your employer’s doctor under the Jones Act, immediately informing your supervisor of a workplace injury is best.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation A.C.T. (LHWCA) is the federal law that covers maritime workers working on land.
These workers include:
- Longshore operators, whether at sea or on land
- Shipbuilders and repairers
- Harbor or dock workers
Any harm maritime members in these groups suffer will likely occur while vessels are built, repaired, loaded, and unloaded. An experienced New Iberia workers’ compensation lawyer can help you through this process.
Injured workers who want to pursue an LHWCA accident claim must submit a form and documentation themselves or through their personal injury attorney.
The United States Department of Labor must receive the paperwork within one year of the injury date. Then, if the overseeing body that reviews the claim rejects the application, an administrative law judge (ALJ) can hear the dispute.
Death on the High Seas Act
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOSHA) allows designated surviving family members of a deceased offshore worker to seek compensation in a wrongful death claim. DOSHA covers workers who died in waters over three nautical miles from the U.S. coast.
Claimants must prove how the decedent’s employer, shipowner, or another party was responsible for their family member’s death due to negligence or an unseaworthy vessel.
Per United States Code 46 § 30303, DOSHA claimants’ damages can only be recovered for measurable out-of-pocket (pecuniary) expenditures. Therefore, they cannot collect certain damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium and society.
I thank God for Digger & David. I don’t know what we would have done if it hadn’t have been for them.Rick Smith | Client
Reach Out to a Maritime Injury Lawyer in New Iberia, LA
At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, we understand that maritime accidents can cause physical and mental consequences that change the course of your life. These cases are different than other personal injury claims, which is why you need an attorney with experience in maritime accident law.
A maritime injury attorney in New Iberia, LA, can help you navigate intimidating legal processes. We’ll help you gather the required evidence and documentation, negotiate with the insurance company, and represent you in court if necessary.
Let us focus on getting you compensated while you recover from your injuries or the wrongful death of your loved one. Fill out the online contact form or call for your initial consultation today.