Maritime jobs are incredibly risky, but they are a critical function in New Orleans. The men and women who carry out these tasks provide a great service to our economy. However, when a seaman is injured on the job, it can create serious disruption, financial pressure, and a painful path to recovery.
The process of getting compensation for your damages can be complicated. There are many different rules you must follow to protect your rights. A good way to learn more about whether you should file a claim is by working with a New Orleans seaman injury lawyer.
You can get in touch with a team member at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation to discuss your situation. Call us at (504) 777-7777 to learn more about your legal options.
Understanding the Jones Act
The Jones Act, 46 U.S. Code § 30104, is a federal law that gives various legal rights to seamen who are hurt at work. Initially, the statute was designed to give benefits to the injured seamen and their dependents because the other laws allowing for workers’ compensation benefits did not cover their injuries.
Today, the Jones Act allows you to file a civil case to seek benefits after you were injured at work due to your employer’s negligence. You can also recover compensation for your medical expenses associated with the injury.
Qualifying for Damages Under the Jones Act
One of the first questions you should explore is whether you are eligible to file a claim under this act. For example, only seamen are permitted to pursue compensation for their employer’s carelessness. You will be required to prove that it is your profession according to the law.
What is a Seaman?
In general, a seaman is defined as someone who is working on a vessel and supports the vessel’s work or mission. To contribute to the vessel’s work or mission, you must typically work at least 30% of the time on a vessel. Here are a few examples of occupations that usually satisfy this requirement:
- Ship officers
- General crewmen
There are also different types of vessels that qualify under the act, including:
- Floating cleaning barges
- Drilling platforms
- Semi-submersible drilling platforms for deep water
- Production storage and offloading units
If you have questions about whether you can bring a claim pursuant to the Jones Act, contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today. A New Orleans seaman injury lawyer may be able to represent you and help you pursue the financial compensation that you deserve. Call us now at (504) 777-7777 to speak with a team member.
Your Employer Owes You a Duty of Care
Working in the maritime industry is incredibly dangerous for most employees. On a daily basis, you face risky situations and different variables that can affect your safety. Although clear regulations require employers to provide a broad range of safety measures, not all employers follow these rules or pay enough attention to what is happening on their vessels.
If an employer does not ensure that the workplace is reasonably safe and a seaman is hurt as a result of that failure, the injured employee can bring a lawsuit in civil court pursuant to the Jones Act. There are many different ways that an employer’s conduct may fall short of this standard.
- Lack of proper safety equipment
- Lack of employee training
- Hiring unqualified employees
- Forklift accidents
- Slipping or tripping and falling
- Improper equipment maintenance
- Failure to adopt and enforce safety policies
- Workers engaged in dangerous conduct
- Lack of sufficient lighting
- Failure to ensure safe driving in the shipyard
- Failure to store dangerous chemicals correctly
- Operating a vessel that is not seaworthy
There may be other ways that your employer was negligent. If you do not see your situation on this list, it is still a good idea to consult a maritime injury lawyer to explore your potential right to financial recovery.
Get Medical Treatment as Quickly as Possible
Any of the above examples of accidents or employer negligence can result in injuries that range from minor to severe. We encourage you to get prompt medical treatment for any injuries you suffer after an accident. A thorough medical exam can address the visible injuries you have, detect any hidden injuries, and create a record that shows your condition is related to the accident. It can also document the kind of treatment you received and the costs of that treatment.
Working with a Maritime Injury Lawyer
A regular civil claim for negligence can be complicated enough, but when you have to pursue compensation according to a complex federal statutory system, it can be even more difficult. Consulting a lawyer who has experience in this area of law can take a lot of the legwork, guessing, and frustration out of pursuing compensation.
Instead of having to research the Jones Act on your own, our lawyer can explain the system to you and how it applies to the facts of your situation. Our lawyer can also fight to help you receive the full amount of compensation you are entitled to under the law. The Jones Act entitles an injured seaman to maintenance, cure, and unearned wages when they are able to prove that their employer acted negligently.
These damages include:
Maintenance: reasonable expenses for room and board while the worker is required to stay ashore through recovery
Cure: reasonable medical expenses that the seaman incurred for treatment until they are deemed fit for duty or reach maximum recovery
Unearned wages: wages the seaman would have earned had they not become injured, through the end of the season or period that the seaman was hired to work
We Can Determine Your Case’s Value
Our lawyer can review various factors in your case to determine how much your maritime injury case is worth. It is good to have this information in hand as it can help you evaluate if a settlement is too low or will not help you meet your financial needs. We can look at factors such as your medical expenses, how much you lost in benefits and earnings, and if you endured pain and suffering or mental anguish due to your injury.
We encourage you to keep careful records and share any documentation you have that can help us build a strong case for compensation for you.
Your Injury Case has a Filing Deadline Under the Jones Act
If you are seeking compensation for injuries at sea, you have a limited time to do so under the Jones Act. The statute allows three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. If the vessel is owned by a government, your deadline is two years from the accident date.
We encourage you to speak with us about your situation as soon as you can. If you are not sure which timeline applies and how your case is affected, we can explain that to you during your free consultation.
Let Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Protect Your Rights
There are a few steps you can take to help ensure that you can make your case for the benefits and compensation that you deserve under the Jones Act. First, take photographs of your injuries and/or the condition that led to your injury if you are able.
You should also get the contact information for any individuals who were in the area at the time you were injured. They may be able to testify on your behalf. Finally, see a doctor as soon as possible to get the treatment you need and begin recording your injuries.
Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers may be able to help you pursue your claim for compensation. To find out more about working with a New Orleans seaman injury lawyer, call (504) 777-7777 now.
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