If your loved one died working offshore, you can file a lawsuit. Under the Jones Act, some offshore workers’ family members can sue their deceased loved one’s employer for compensation for their death and related expenses.
The Jones Act is a federal law that allows seamen and their families to pursue financial awards through personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. This is different from most onshore workers, who seek awards for work-related injuries and deaths through workers’ compensation insurance claims.
Employers Must Protect Offshore Workers with a Reasonably Safe Workplace
Those employed on working vessels face a variety of job hazards, including:
- Fall risks
- Heavy lifting
- Danger of drowning
- Potentially delayed access to medical care
- Slippery surfaces
- Hazardous weather conditions
- Heavy equipment
If your loved one died working offshore, you can file a lawsuit if their employer’s negligence caused their fatal accident. Employers of offshore workers have a legal duty to protect their employees by creating a safe working environment. Examples of a negligent/unsafe environment include:
- Lack of safety equipment
- Lack of employee training
- Broken or poorly maintained equipment
- Inadequate sleep/rest times
- Inadequate protection against assault by a coworker
- Exposure to toxic or harmful chemicals or substances
Proving Your Case
As with any wrongful death lawsuit, you will have to prove negligence led to your loved one’s death. You will also need to show that their final injuries resulted in monetary losses. You can do this using evidence such as:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Expert testimony
- Witnesses’ statements
- Your loved one’s employment records
Depending on the nature of your loved one’s accident, you may also have a claim against a third party. Our attorneys can help you look into the cause of your loved one’s accident and determine liability. A lawyer with our firm can also help you build your case using the available evidence.
Seeking Compensation on Your Loved One’s Behalf
Severe injuries and occupational illnesses can lead to tens of thousands of dollars or more in medical bills. You are also facing the loss of your deceased family member’s income. A wrongful death lawsuit may allow you to recover your loved one’s final health care expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
You can recover the costs of medical treatment related to your family member’s final injury. This may include:
- Emergency transportation
- Emergency treatment
- Medical procedures
- Funeral and burial expenses
Your settlement or verdict may include compensation for your loved one’s lost wages. As a survivor, you may be able to seek awards for the loss of their future financial support and household contributions. You may win awards for any personal property damaged during your loved one’s fatal accident.
You may seek damages for the physical pain and emotional suffering your loved one endured before their death. You may also be eligible for compensation for your:
- Emotional pain
- Mental suffering
- Loss of support
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
You Have a Limited Amount of Time to Seek Damages
According to 46 U.S.C. §30106, a provision of the Jones Act, you have three years from the time of your loved one’s death to file a lawsuit. If you do not take legal action within this limit, you may be unable to seek compensation.
To pursue a lawsuit, your loved one’s offshore employment must fall under the Jones Act. To qualify, your loved one must have spent a significant amount of time working on a floating vessel capable of movement. The ship must be in operation on navigable waters, including oceans, rivers, and lakes. Your family member’s fatal accident must have occurred while they were performing the duties of their job.
If you do not qualify for a lawsuit under the Jones Act, you may be able to pursue financial awards through the Longshore and Harborworkers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Our firm has attorneys familiar with maritime injuries who can help you learn more about your options.
An Attorney at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Can Handle Your Wrongful Death Case
Maritime injury law is complex. Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers has helped past clients successfully settle their maritime injury claims.
If you choose to work with our firm, you owe us nothing unless we win compensation for you. To learn more about how we can assist you, call (337) 777-7777 for a free consultation.