Focusing on Maritime Accidents in New Orleans, La
Accidents causing injuries and even death can happen anywhere, especially including on the water.
A unique set of laws applies to these maritime accidents and injuries. If you’ve been in a maritime accident caused by the wrongdoing or negligence of others, then you may have a claim under maritime law.
A maritime lawyer in New Orleans will give you legal counsel and represent you in maritime claims involving any maritime setting such as tug boat accidents, commercial fishing boat injuries, oil platform injuries, cruise ship injuries, recreational boating injuries, yacht accidents, shipyard injuries, as well as dock and pier accidents.
Maritime accidents and injuries are common throughout Louisiana. A maritime lawyer can assist you in seeking remedies under the following:
- Jones Act
- General Maritime Law (including claims for Unseaworthiness)
- Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (including 905(b) claims)
Essential Things You Should Know About The Maritime Laws.
Admiralty law or maritime law can be complicated, confusing, and different in many respects than the laws that apply to land-based injuries.
But while these laws are complicated, you must familiarize yourself with the ones that will directly impact your case. This way, you can be better prepared for your maritime injury claim.
The Jones Act
Since 1920, the Merchant Marine Act, more commonly known as the Jones Act, has protected maritime workers and seamen by clearly outlining their rights.
The act requires employers to provide safe working environments and allows for remedies if employers fail at this duty. However, unlike typical offshore workers, other maritime workers covered by the Jones Act can bring lawsuits against their employers.
To qualify as a Jones Act seaman, you must have a substantial connection to a vessel or fleet operating on a navigable waterway.
A Louisiana maritime attorney will be able to figure out if you qualify.
To be Eligible for Compensation Under the Jones Act, You Must Qualify as a Seaman.
A seaman can be an engineer, deckhand, cook, or a housekeeping steward assigned to a particular vessel or fleet of vessels and, generally speaking, have generally spent at least 30% of his or her working service on the vessel or fleet of vessels. The vessel must also be in navigation and you must contribute to the mission and purpose of the vessel. As it is often explained, you must be subjected to the “perils of the sea.”
You can be eligible for compensation if you’re injured on the job, and your personal injury lawyer can prove your employer’s negligence caused a role in your injuries.
Compensation in a Jones Act case can include:
- Medical Expenses,
- Compensation For Pain And Suffering,
- Mental Anguish
- Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life
- Lost Wages
- Damage To Your Potential Future Earnings
The Standard of Proof in the Jones Act is Low
The Jones act is considered to be an employee-friendly law. If you’re eligible, the standard of causation for maritime injuries is much lower than in typical tort cases. You’ll only be required to show that your employer’s negligence contributed to your injury in whole or in part, which is also called the “featherweight” standard.
A maritime injury lawyer will help you prepare the case that is most likely to be successful, no matter how minimally your employer’s negligence might have contributed to your accident.
There Are Deadlines to be Met
Suppose you’re a qualified seaman under the Jones Act and have been injured as a result of your employer’s negligence. In that case, you should immediately report any injuries that you suffered and confirm that a report has been created.
The Jones Act also has a statute of limitations, which is a date by which you must file a lawsuit to protect your claim; usually, three years or a court of law will bar it. Contacting a reputable maritime injury lawyer will make sure you protect your rights.
When Can Your Employer Be Held Liable For Negligence Under the Jones Act?
Typical reasons for employer liability include:
- Spills such as grease and oil on the ship’s deck
- Co-worker assault
- Failing to ensure that equipment parts are up-to-date and working properly
- Failure to provide proper training to employees before putting them to work
- Failing to place hazard and warning signs around dangerous areas
- Failure to provide employees with safety gear and equipment
What Are the Basic Requirements of LHWCA?
If you are not a seaman, you may have a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA protects maritime employees, such as harbor workers, longshoremen, and those working in docks and shipyards. To be eligible for LHWCA benefits, you must meet the status and situs test.
The LHWCA means that you must qualify as a maritime employee to be eligible for compensation for injuries sustained while working. Unfortunately, if you’re a vessel repairman, seaman, or shipbuilder building recreational vessels under 65 feet long, you may not be eligible for LHWCA benefits.
If you’ve suffered an injury compensable under the LWHCA, you’re eligible for compensation to replace the loss of earning capacity and for payment of your medical bills.
You’re eligible to receive 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wages during the period you’ll be recovering.
- In the event of the death of an eligible employee, widows are entitled to 50% of your average weekly wages, and children are entitled to ⅙ of average weekly payments (if there is a widow) or 50% of average weekly wages (if there is no widow)
- Must you report your injury within 30 days of the accident or within 30 days of when you learn that the accident caused you an injury (for injuries that manifest later)
How to Pursue Fair Compensation When Injured In a Maritime Accident
If you’ve been injured while at work, one of the questions you might be having is how compensation will work. While every case is different and falls under different aspects of the law, legal damages under maritime law will typically cover things such as lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, amongst others.
If you want to move forward with a claim under general maritime law, make sure you:
- Document any evidence of your illness and injuries.
- Keep track of related medical bills and other associated expenses.
- If you have potential witnesses, reach out to them when possible.
- Contact a New Orleans maritime attorney to give you the much-needed legal help.
How A Maritime Lawyer Can Help With Your Case
The decision on whether or not to seek legal counsel and representation from a maritime injury lawyer can break or make your case. A maritime lawyer experienced in personal injury litigation will help you review all documents relating to your case and assess the impact these could have on your maritime injury claim.
A New Orleans maritime attorney should help you address critical items that might impact your case. These issues might include:
- Step 1: Status of the vessel at the time of the injury
- Step 2: State of the worker at the time of the injury
- Step 3: Factors that contributed to the injury
- Step 4: The vessel’s seaworthiness
- Step 5: The time frame in which the claim must be made
While these issues may seem simple, they might be hard to navigate without proper legal counsel from experienced New Orleans maritime lawyers.
A maritime attorney experienced in personal injury claims in state and federal courts will help you prove negligence so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
Experienced in Personal Injury Litigation & Maritime Law
The Mahone Firm has been involved in cases involving vessel transfer accidents, platform injuries, construction accidents, dock accidents, and shipyard accidents, to name a few. Our law firm has years of experience in the maritime industry providing legal services to workers involved in maritime accidents in the Louisiana Gulf Coast Region.
If you’ve been injured in a maritime accident, The Mahone Firm is here to help. Call the firm today at (504) 564-7342 for a free initial consultation with a maritime accident lawyer in New Orleans, La.