New Orleans, LA Maritime & Offshore Accident Attorneys
Jones Act Lawyer – Offshore Injuries
Tom Shlosman enjoys years of experience representing workers and seamen injured on:
- Supply Vessels
- Oil Rigs/Platforms
- Crew Boats
- And many more…
Employees working for offshore oil and gas companies are at a substantially higher risk of getting injured and in some cases dying while on the job. Studies show the average fatality rate for U.S. workers is 3.8 deaths per 100,000 employees. That rate is 27.1 deaths per 100,000 for offshore workers. The most famous example is the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill that killed 11 people and affected thousands across the entire Gulf Coast. Seamen and workers who are injured or killed while working aboard barges, tugboats, supply vessels, oil rigs/platforms, crew boats and other vessels are eligible to sue their employers and others responsible under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act holds the employer or the vessel owner liable for any injury that happened as a result of the negligence on their part and provides the injured employee the right to sue the owner for damages. Jones Act lawsuits are substantially different from general state negligence claims. This is why you need to contact a Jones Act lawyer to help navigate through the intricacies of the Jones Act.
How Shlosman Law Can Help
Attorney Tom Shlosman is licensed to practice before:
- The Louisiana Supreme Court
- All lower state courts
- The federal courts representing the Eastern, Western and Middle Districts of Louisiana
- The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
Whether you were injured on an inland waterway between Lake Charles and Lake Pontchartrain, on the Mississippi Delta, or on the Gulf Coast, Mr. Shlosman stands ready to fight for your rights. Unlike most attorneys, Mr. Shlosman regularly handles maritime law personal injury cases and is familiar with the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of this distinctive area of law.
Tom was very thorough and cares about your case! He was the one calling me explaining [why] things took as long as they [did]. Most of time you have to constantly call your attorney to see what your status is. He’s the best and he will help you!
– Colby, March 24, 2016
Attorney Tom Shlosman did an amazing job handling a legal issue for me. He was very professional, honest, and courteous. He did a great job keeping me updated when changes occurred with my case. He worked very hard for me and I would without a doubt recommend Mr. Shlosman’s services.
– Toyin, March 3, 2016
My Other Areas of Practice
18 Wheeler Accidents: An out-of-control truck is like a missile rolling down the highway, with equally devastating effects in many cases. Commercial truckers are subject to extensive regulations, the violation of which can form the basis of a personal injury claim. Of course, I also represent truckers injured due to negligent motorists.
Catastrophic Injuries: Catastrophic injuries often require long-term medical treatment. Because of this, a personal injury claimant must accurately calculate his future damages, sometimes even decades into the future. It takes considerable expertise to accurately estimate future medical expenses so that you do not run out of money in years to come.
Auto Accidents: Auto accidents are perhaps the most common form of personal injury claim. Nevertheless, inadequately represented victims often walk away with far less than the true value of their claims, simply because insurance adjusters are savvy negotiators who bring a bag of tricks to the negotiating table. I won’t fall for their tricks.
Personal Injury: Personal injury law covers just about any kind of personal injury that one person’s misconduct inflicts upon another. If you have been injured in the New Orleans area, I stand ready and waiting to help.
Criminal Defense: I began my career as a criminal defense attorney, handling everything from first-degree murder to drug cases. I understand the seriousness of your situation, and I will fight aggressively to protect you. Don’t just “plead guilty and get it over with” – fight back against the system!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can’t I just file a workers’ compensation claim?
If you were injured on a seagoing vessel, you are probably ineligible to file a workers compensation claim. Instead, you will need to seek compensation under federal maritime law. If you do not regularly work on a ship,.
What is maritime law/admiralty law?
Maritime law, otherwise known as admiralty law, is the type of law that governs activities at sea or in navigable waters. Where it applies, its jurisdiction is exclusive. Under certain circumstances maritime law even includes international laws and treaties.
What is the Jones Act and how might it impact my case?
The Jones Act, otherwise known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, provides a system of remedies for “seamen” suffering personal injury (among other provisions). Employees covered by the Jones Act are not covered by the workers’ compensation system. There are significant differences between the Jones Act compensation system, workers’ compensation, and ordinary personal injury law.
What are some of the important legal terms used in the Jones Act?
The following terms are useful and, in some cases, critically important:
- “Jones Act vessel”: One of a wide variety of American-owned seagoing vessels that are subject to the Jones Act (see above for some examples).
- “Jones Act seaman”: An employee who spends a significant amount of his work time working on a vessel, and who is connected to a particular vessel or fleet of vessels.
- “Unseaworthiness”: An unseaworthy vessel is a vessel that fails to comply with certain requirements of the Jones Act concerning safety, etc.
If it comes to a lawsuit, do I file in state court or in federal court?
You can file a Jones Act claim in either state or federal court. If you file in state court, you run the risk that the defendant might remove the lawsuit to federal court. If you file in federal court, however, the defendant cannot remove the lawsuit to state court.
What kinds of documentation will I need?
At a minimum, you will need to prepare the following:
- Relevant medical records
- The accident report
- Any correspondence about the accident that you received from your employer
- A list of witnesses
- Photos of the accident
Other documentation may be required at some point.
Should I see the company doctor or my own doctor?
Use your own doctor, and avoid seeing the company doctor. You do not have to see the company doctor, no matter what your employer might tell you. Remember, once you are injured, the company doctor works for the opposing party. Under no circumstances should you neglect seeking medical treatment, however, because you will need it generate evidence of your injury.
Is there a time limit for filing a Jones Act claim?
The general rule is that you have until three years after the accident for a privately-owned vessel, and two years after the accident for a government-owned vessel. Since calculating the statute of limitations in a particular case can get tricky due to legal ambiguities, speak with your lawyer on this matter after he has become familiar with the facts of your case.
What kinds of acts or omissions might qualify as “negligence” under the Jones Act?
Many different types of behavior might qualify, including:
- Failure to maintain a seaworthy vessel
- Dangerous tools
- Excessively dangerous work assignments
- Inadequate training
- Violation of U.S. Coast Guard Regulations
What is “proximate cause” and how does it relate to a Jones Act claim?
To win a personal injury claim, you must not only prove negligence – you must also prove that the negligence actually caused the accident. An accident can have more than one cause, of course. In an ordinary personal injury claim, you must prove that the negligence was a substantial cause of the accident. In a Jones Act claim, you only have to prove that the negligence played some small role in the accident.
What are the most important differences between a Jones Act claim and a workers’ compensation claim?
The three most important differences are:
- Negligence: You need to prove negligence to win a Jones Act claim, but not for a workers’ compensation claim.
- Proximate cause: You must prove causation (see above) to win, and it is easier to prove causation under the Jones Act.
- Intangible damages: Under the Jones Act you could win intangible damages such as pain and suffering damages, but you cannot claim such damages in a workers’ compensation claim.
What are my legal options if my loved one died in a maritime accident?
Maritime law includes several statutes that allow survivors to seek compensation for the victim of a maritime accident, including the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). Certain close relatives of the deceased victim may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
My employer wants me to give a recorded statement. Should I do it?
No, you shouldn’t. Employers, advised by their lawyers, have many tricks that they can use to trick you into saying something that they can use against you. Moreover, if they ask you to sign something, make sure you fully understand it before you sign it. Better yet, have your attorney look it over first.
What is “maintenance and cure”?
“Maintenance and cure” is a phrase that appears in the Jones Act and represents some of the compensation that an injured seaman qualifies for under the Act. “Maintenance” refers to a basic stipend of funds covering the same food and shelter that the seaman would have received had he been still working on a vessel. “Cure” refers to various forms of medical expenses.
No Legal Fees Unless You Win
Since I do not charge upfront fees, and since your initial consultation is free of charge, feel free to contact me even if you don’t have a penny in your pocket. Unless I win your case, your total legal bill from me will be $0.00. My legal fees are calculated as a percentage of the amount I win for you, and any percentage of zero is still zero.
Start Fighting Back Today!
If you or a loved one has been injured while working for an oil and gas company contact an experienced New Orleans maritime attorney at the Shlosman Law Firm today. Time is not on your side. In addition to contacting me through my “Contact Us” page, you may email me at [email protected] or call me at (504) 826-9427.
With your financial future at stake, you simply cannot afford to trust a maritime law personal injury claim to an amateur.