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Understanding the Basics of Maritime Injury Law


Experienced Lawyer Serving Victims of Maritime Injuries in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region

Maritime workers traditionally come in two forms: seamen and longshoremen, both of which work on or near the water. When an injury occurs in the maritime industry there are two different categories the case may fall into. The type of compensation and the procedure for collecting compensation depends on which category they fall into.

Which Career Field Qualifies for Protections via the Jones Act?

The Jones Act covers seamen and genuine maritime workers. To gain Seaman Status, a worker must perform a substantial part of their work duties on a specific vessel or identifiable fleet of vessels under common ownership and control. Additionally, their duties must contribute to the overall function of the vessel or the accomplishment of its mission.

The Jones Act protects workers and seamen performing job-related tasks on vessels and or platforms including but not limited to:

  • Boats
  • Barges
  • Crew Ships
  • Oil Rigs and Platforms
  • Supply Vessels
  • Tugboats
  • Search and Rescue Boats

What are the Elements of Jones Act Claim?

A Jones Act claim must be brought by a “Seaman” or his/her survivors against an employer for negligence. The suit can be brought in state or federal court and the Seaman or his/her survivors are entitled to a trial by jury if selected.

An injured Seaman is entitled to recover the following:

  • Maintenance & Cure
  • Loss of Past and Future Wages
  • Impairment of Future Earning Capacity
  • Past and Future Medical Expenses
  • Past and Future Pain and Suffering, Disability, Humiliation and Mental Anguish
  • Punitive Damages (In Limited Circumstances)

The Risks of Offshore and Sea-Related Injuries

Maritime and offshore accidents happen daily in the United States. Working on the ocean puts you at risk for minor to fatal injuries. While the work pays well, most employers pay their workers that much because they know the risks they are taking by venturing out to sea.

The work itself is physically demanding, requires long working hours, and the risk of an accident is high. That is why federal laws are in place to protect you as a maritime worker. You may require compensation to get back on your feet financially. If you suffer permanent or catastrophic injuries, you need compensation to help you not only pay for medical costs but the lost wages and suffering you have incurred.

Most Common Accidents Seen Offshore

  • Equipment-Related Incidents: Equipment related injuries are the most common accidents seen in the industry. From winches to equipment malfunctions, these components can lead to devastating injuries.
  • Improper Training: It is imperative that everyone on the vessel, platform or rig be well-trained and knows the proper safety procedures. Sadly, the maritime industry is extremely short-staffed, which means they are hiring less experienced workers to fill employment gaps. When employees are not trained to do their jobs properly, serious accidents occur.
  • Falls: Falls overboard are also common out on the water. These can result in serious injuries or drowning. In a storm, a seaman may never be found again.
  • Onshore Accidents: Accidents can happen inland just as much as offshore. Ports and docks use heavy equipment and are just as risky as the open waters. Equipment accidents are the most commonly seen on docks, but there are also falls into the water, chemical accidents, fires, and electrocutions.
  • Amputations: Maritime workers are at high risk for amputations, especially when working with fishing trawling and other marine equipment.
  • Repetitive Use Injuries: Sometimes the injury is not catastrophic, but affects the worker all the same. Repetitive use injuries are also common because most maritime workers are repeating the same motions over-and-over, which leads to chronic pain and may require surgery to correct.

Contact a NOLA Accident Attorney about Receiving Compensation for a Maritime Injury

If you or a loved one has suffered a maritime injury, you are entitled to compensation under federal and state laws. However, arguing these cases is very complicated and requires not only knowledge of maritime injury law, but also knowledge of personal injury law in Louisiana.

For your maritime injury, speak with an injury advocate from Shlosman Law Firm today. Schedule your free consultation now at 504-826-9427 or request more information online.