The maritime industry can be very dangerous. In fact, there are twice as many accidents in maritime transportation than in all other workplaces. As a maritime worker, you might face many occupational hazards in your workplace that are different from land-based workplaces. The work may involve heavy lifting, social isolation, slippery floors, extreme weather conditions, or exposure to chemicals, any of which can lead to maritime accidents and injury.
If you’re a seaman or other maritime worker and have been hurt in a maritime accident, you could be entitled to financial compensation. A Villa Platte seaman injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for injuries incurred while working aboard a sea vessel or in another maritime work environment.
Common Causes of Seaman Accidents
Many things can cause a maritime accident. Some of the most common causes we see include:
- Slippery floors due to water or grease spills
- Malfunctioning safety equipment
- Unsafe work methods such as lifting heavy objects improperly
- Working long hours without proper rest or mandated breaks
- Lack of safety signage
- Untrained staff members
- Lack of proper equipment
- Undertrained or complete absence of onboard medical personnel
- Unseaworthiness of the vessel
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
The Jones Act
Unlike the average land-based job, seamen and maritime workers are not eligible for traditional workers’ compensation. The Jones Act allows injured seamen to sue negligent employers directly for compensation. However, under the Jones Act, there are some requirements that you must meet before you can file your lawsuit. These requirements ascertain that you are a seaman. They include:
Contributions Made in the Operations of the Vessel
Passengers who incur injuries onboard a sea vessel are not eligible for compensation under the Jones Act. Only people who work onboard and contribute to the overall mission of the vessel qualify for the Jones Act. Proof of the duties you carry out in the vessel must be available to facilitate the compensation process.
Time Spent Working Onboard
To be considered a seaman under the Jones Act, you must spend a significant amount of your employment time working aboard a vessel as a captain or member of the crew. Specifically, you must spend at least 30 percent of your working hours onboard. A worker who spends time on different vessels also qualifies as a seaman. However, the total time spent on the different vessels should add up to at least 30 percent.
Navigation of the Vessel
At the time of injury, the vessel should be in navigation, afloat on a body of water. Injuries that occur when the vessel is in the storage or docking area on dry land do not qualify for compensation under the Jones Act.
The vessel doesn’t need to be moving at the time of the accident, but must have the ability to do so. It could be docked in navigable waters or a harbor. The water bodies that apply as navigable waters include seas, canals, lakes, and rivers used for commercial transportation.
Liability Under the Jones Act
Vessel owners and employers must provide a reasonably safe work environment for the seamen working on their vessels. The employer must maintain and annually reevaluate the safety measures needed to run a safe and seaworthy ship, vessel, oil rig, or drilling platform.
The Jones Act holds negligent employers accountable for the injuries they’ve caused to their seamen. As a seaman, you must prove that your employer’s negligence (either directly or indirectly) caused your injuries. Your Ville Platte seaman injury lawyer can help pinpoint the at-fault party and help gather the evidence that proves it.
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
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
If you’re an injured worker who wouldn’t fit the criteria of a Jones Act seaman, you may be covered by The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA covers people who work on or near navigable bodies of water, such a dock, harbor, pier, wharf, or shipping terminal. Their roles could be loading, offloading, repairing, or constructing the vessel, among other things.
The reassurance from Digger and his staff gave me that renewed hope that it’s going to be okay down the road.Client
How Long do I Have to File After My Seaman Injury?
Under the Jones Act, you have up to three years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit. You must also report the accident to your employer within seven days. Under the LHWCA, you have up to one year to file, and must report your accident to your employer within 30 days.
They treated us like no other people would. Whenever we needed something they were there for us. I put my trust in them and I don’t regret it.Client
What Kinds of Damages Can My Lawyer and I Pursue?
Your Ville Platte seaman injury lawyer can help identify all the damages you qualify for when calculating your settlement. Under the Jones Act, some of the damages that you can pursue compensation for after an injury include:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of income
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Mental anguish
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act qualifies an injured seaman to seek compensation for the following damages:
- Rehabilitation costs
- All treatment costs due to the injury
- Partial to complete disability
How Can a Ville Platte Seaman Injury Lawyer Help?
The aftermath of a bad work accident can be one of the hardest experiences of your life, physically, emotionally, and financially. The stress can be overwhelming. Maritime law can be complex and difficult to understand at the best of times. When you’re in pain, it can be hard to focus on details and easy to make costly mistakes. Your Ville Platte seaman injury can take that stress right off your shoulders and handle all the hard work so you can focus on rest and recovery.
Your lawyer can determine the right legal path for you, make a plan to move forward, and guide you with the necessary paperwork. Your lawyer can also represent you in hearings and negotiations, handle all communication with your employer’s attorneys and the insurance adjuster, and give you updates on the development of your case.
Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today
Talking to a Ville Platte seaman injury lawyer from our firm comes with no upfront costs or charges. At Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers, we’ll review your case in a free initial consultation. In addition, our seaman injury lawyers work on a contingency basis.
This means if we win and you receive compensation, your lawyer will simply take his or her legal fees out of a percentage of your total settlement package. If we lose, you don’t owe us anything. No hidden fees. No surprise charges. Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free case evaluation.