The Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River have provided food and employment to New Orleans residents for centuries. However, even the most seemingly safe journey out onto the water or routine maintenance procedure while on dock exposes workers to multiple workplace hazards. These hazards can result in workplace injuries that require extensive medical attention and may jeopardize your quality of life and ability to earn a living.
Unfortunately, for injured commercial fishing boat workers, obtaining compensation for these losses is rarely easy. Unlike most employees in New Orleans, commercial fishing boat workers are exempt from workers’ compensation laws and protections. As a result, they must hold their bosses directly liable for incidents that result in injuries. The following demands for compensation and lawsuits must go through a United States District Court.
We Can Represent You in Your Commercial Fishing Accident Case
A New Orleans commercial fishing injury lawyer can help you pursue your case. The legal professionals at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers could take the lead in investigating the cause of your injuries, evaluating the boat owner’s role in the incident, explaining your rights under federal law, and filing lawsuits that demand every dollar of compensation to which you may be entitled. Call us today at (504) 777-7777 for your free consultation.
Commercial Fishing Boat Owners Are Exempt from Workers’ Compensation Laws
A general concept that applies in labor laws around the country is that employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance protection to all their employees. These plans provide medical care at no cost to the worker and cash benefits for all time missed at work because of the injury.
Unfortunately, the maritime industry is one portion of the economy that is exempt from these laws. The idea at the time of the exemption was that boat workers do their jobs off the coasts of numerous states or even in international waters. As a result, it was difficult to place the location of the workplace in any one state.
Jones Act Protects Maritime Workers
The United States Congress reacted by passing the Jones Act. According to 46 United States Code § 30104, maritime workers who suffer an injury while performing their jobs have the right to directly sue their employers in federal court. These lawsuits can demand compensation that makes up for the costs of medical care, lost wages, and other damages.
A New Orleans commercial fishing injury lawyer could work to explain why injuries that occur on boats do not fall under the jurisdiction of workers’ compensation. They could also assist you to better understand the Jones Act and how it controls your demands for payment after an injury.
For a free legal consultation with a commercial fishing injury lawyer serving New Orleans, call (504) 777-7777.
Compensation Is Only Possible When a Boat Owner’s Actions Caused an Injury
In addition to the requirement that injured people pursue lawsuits in federal court after a commercial fishing injury, another portion of the law makes it more difficult to collect compensation as compared to a traditional workers’ compensation claim. An injured boat worker must prove that the boat owner’s own actions caused the incident. By contrast, a workers’ compensation claim must merely prove that an injury occurred while an employee was on the clock and performing their work duties.
In Jones Act claims, the injured worker bears the burden of proving the boat owner’s fault. This may include a failure to properly maintain the vessel, inadequate training, improper safety precautions, faulty equipment, or the vessel being unseaworthy. Gathering evidence of these failures to protect workers is often the first step in any successful lawsuit under the Jones Act.
The legal team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can begin the process of gathering evidence that shows how the boat owner’s failure to protect you led to your losses. Give us a call today at (504) 777-7777 to learn more.
Recoverable Damages in a Commercial Fishing Accident
The damages you could recover in a commercial fishing accident will depend on the details of the accident and the kinds of injuries you suffered. The severity of these injuries is also a factor. You will have to prove that the party that injured you did so when they exhibited negligent behavior.
We can help you make a case for negligence based on the facts and evidence available. If your case is successful, you could be awarded compensation to cover damages you could document with paperwork as well as those damages that have no assigned dollar amount. These include:
- Medical expenses (past, current, and ongoing)
- Lost wages and benefits
- Reduced earning ability
- Maintenance and cure (recovery benefits for injured seamen that come from their employer)
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Emotional distress, pain and suffering
Our lawyer can help you uncover all damages you are due and calculate them to determine what your case is worth. This figure is what we would ask for in talks about your compensation. We will manage negotiation talks and seek fair compensation for you from the liable party. If talks do not produce a settlement agreement, we could pursue a lawsuit on your behalf.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If your loved one died from injuries suffered in a commercial fishing accident, you may be able to recover damages from a wrongful death action. Louisiana law designates who can pursue these damages, so first, we must determine your eligibility to seek this kind of action.
If you are awarded compensation in a wrongful death suit, the damages awarded could help you pay your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses, final medical bills, loss of financial support, and more. We can review the specifics in your case during a free consultation.
Common Reasons for Commercial Fishing Accidents
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), work conditions, hard labor, long hours, and extreme weather conditions all make commercial fishing one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. People can suffer injuries from any of the following:
- Slipping, tripping, or falling while aboard a vessel
- Falling overboard
- Exposure to extreme weather (too hot or too cold)
- Mechanical problems aboard the vessel
- Deck machinery accidents
- Equipment-related accidents
- Repetitive motion injury (lifting, bending, twisting injuries over time)
The federal agency cites data that shows hazards, such as flooding and vessel instability, in the commercial fishing industries cause hundreds of deaths in past years. Crew members can also cause accidents due to negligence or carelessness. If any of the above resulted in your injury, you can reach out to us as soon as you can to learn how we can help you with your case.
Federal Law Places a Strict Time Limit to Demand Compensation Under the Jones Act
A final piece of the puzzle in many personal injury claims that utilize the Jones Act is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a law that places a time limit on a claim for damages resulting from a personal injury. A failure to file a lawsuit in court within this time limit could see the court dismissing the claim out of hand.
Under 46 United States Code § 30106, the statute of limitations on Jones Act claims is three years from the date of the incident. A New Orleans commercial fishing injury lawyer could get to work immediately to build a powerful case against the owners of your boat and file your lawsuit on time.
Let a New Orleans Commercial Fishing Injury Lawyer Take the Lead in Your Claim for Compensation
Injuries that occur on commercial fishing boats that name New Orleans as a port of call are common. Incidents that involve fishing line snares, slippery decks, dangerous weather, and poorly maintained vessels can result in injuries that threaten not just your health but also your ability to earn a living.
A New Orleans commercial fishing injury lawyer could help you pursue your case, including performing a full investigation into the incident, explaining your legal options, measuring how the incident has impacted your life, and seeking fair payments from at-fault boat owners.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
The legal professionals at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers are standing by to take your call. Reach out to us today at (504) 777-7777 for your free consultation. As we work on contingency, you will not have to pay us any upfront or out-of-pocket costs. We take our fee out of your financial award should you be compensated. If not, you owe us nothing.