The maritime industry, while providing a boon to Louisiana’s economy, has more than its fair share of occupational hazards. With all the potential for off-shore accidents and personal injury, being a seaman or other maritime worker can be very dangerous. This is a risk that these brave workers face every day, simply doing their jobs. Many of whom live right here in Opelousas.
If you’re a seaman or maritime worker and have been hurt in an accident at work, you may be entitled to compensation. A seaman injury lawyer serving the Opelousas area can help.
Common Causes of Seaman Accidents in Opelousas
In south-central Louisiana, seamen from Opelousas rely on off-shore duties for work. These seamen face many dangers and injuries while aboard seafaring ships, oil rigs, drilling platforms, and more. Anything can happen out on the water.
Generally, the most common causes of seaman accidents we see include:
- Moving, swinging, and falling objects
- Faulty or unseaworthy vessels
- Enclosed spaces
- Toxic chemicals
- Slips and falls
- Explosions and electrical fires
For a free legal consultation with a seaman injury lawyer serving Opelousas, call (337) 777-7777
Common Seaman Injuries
When you’re a seaman, accidents can be a common occurrence. These injuries can cause immense pain and loss for the seamen and their families. Some of the more common injuries we see in our work with seamen include:
- PTSD and other mental health-related injuries
- Serious burns
- Loss of limbs
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Broken, fractured, or crushed bones
- Hearing loss
- Heart attacks
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injury
Opelousas Seaman Injury Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
Am I Eligible to File an Opelousas Seaman Injury Claim?
In most land-based industries, an injured employee can turn to workers’ compensation for injuries and losses suffered on the job. This doesn’t apply to seamen and maritime workers. If you or your loved one has been injured while aboard a vessel, you can file a claim under the Jones Act. This is a federal law that gives seamen a chance to sue their employers directly for compensation.
The Jones Act
Under the Jones Act, you must meet several specifications to qualify. They include the following:
1. You Must be a Seamen
According to the Jones Act, a seaman refers to a person who spends a considerable amount of time working on a seafaring vessel in navigation and whose work directly contributes to the overall success of its mission.
2. You Must Spend a Significant Amount of Time Onboard
One of the qualifications to file your claim under the Jones Act is that you have spent at least 30% of your working hours on a vessel and have been injured while on duty. Additionally, your hours also count if you work on a different fleet of vessels owned by the same employer.
3. Your Vessel Must be in Navigation
The Jones Act requires that the vessel you work on be “in navigation.” This means:
- The vessel must be afloat.
- The floating vessel must be in operation. Even when docked, the ship must be operable, conducting some type of maritime business.
- The vessel should be able to move freely when needed (even oil rigs and drilling platforms count as Jones Act vessels if they have some form of onboard navigation).
- The vessel must be operating in navigable waters.
Jones Act Statute of Limitations
Under the Jones Act, you must file your lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident. You must also notify your employer of the accident within just seven days. This is a very short window of time. Your lawyer can help make sure all of your relevant paperwork is in on time.
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What Kinds of Damages Can My Lawyer and I Pursue?
Every case is different. Depending on your specific situation, you and your lawyer could pursue many kinds of compensation. Some of these can include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Partial to complete disability
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
How Can an Opelousas Seaman Injury Lawyer Help?
An Opelousas seaman injury attorney can do a lot for you, including:
Helping You Gather Critical Evidence
The Jones Act is hinged on your ability to prove that your employer was negligent, causing your injuries. A lawyer can help you collect evidence and speak to eyewitnesses. Evidence could be in the form of incident reports, photos, videos, or any other material that proves you were harmed because of your employer’s negligence.
Calculating Your Settlement
Your lawyer can add up all of your damages and calculate your potential settlement. Our attorneys have handled similar cases and know what your losses are worth.
Once your lawyer has determined who the liable party is, they can hold that person or entity responsible. The next step is the negotiation phase. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance adjuster and your employer’s legal team so you don’t have to.
Updating You on the Facts of Your Case
When you’re severely injured in a seaman injury incident, you need to focus on your recovery. Having a seaman injury lawyer fight for you allows you to recuperate peacefully as you receive critical updates on your case. Your lawyer can keep you up to date on any changes or developments in your case.
Ensuring You Meet Critical Deadlines
As with most personal injury cases, there are statutes of limitations for off-shore injuries, including seaman injuries. Your lawyer can help make sure that your lawsuit (and all of the required paperwork) is filed on time.
Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
A seaman injury can drastically impact your way of life. From trauma to pain to emotional suffering, it’s something that could take a long time to heal from. Seeking compensation can cushion you financially from your injuries and the ways they affect your life.
At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, we proudly serve the seamen and maritime workers of the Opelousas area and their families. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.