Louisiana has over 2,800 miles of navigable waterways – second only to Alaska. So, it’s no surprise that a lot of Louisianans make their living on or near the water. A 2015 study found that an estimated one in five jobs in Louisiana is connected to the maritime industry, resulting in employment income of more than $3.5 billion every year. Many men and women working grueling, physical jobs in the presence of a myriad of risks and dangers, so it’s no surprise that thousands of maritime workers in Louisiana are injured every year.
Whether you work on a tanker, barge, tugboat, oil rig, or any other commercial vessel, a serious injury can keep you laid up and out of work for a long time. Seamen and longshoremen who are injured on the job have special remedies which are governed by a specific set of laws that apply only to them.
When boating injuries are caused by the negligence of boat or equipment owners or operators, or boat owners provide seamen an unseaworthy boat on which to work, compensation may be available under these maritime laws. But these are not the same as other personal injury cases, and injured seamen and dock workers need a lawyer who understands these unique laws.
At Bloom Legal, we understand how New Orleans boating laws and other maritime laws work and have substantial experience obtaining compensation for injured seamen and maritime workers in Louisiana.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, provides protections for injured seamen and allows them to sue their employer for negligence that caused their injury.
The Jones Act applies to both seagoing vessels as well as offshore oil rigs and jack-up barges. The “seamen” covered by the Jones Act include crewmembers or a captain who spend a significant amount of his/her time (usually at least 30%) working on a vessel. This can include fishermen, shrimpers, oil rig workers, and others.
Injured seamen can recover compensation under the Jones Act for:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Maintenance and cure benefits
If your maritime job keeps you working on the land more than on a vessel, you may not be covered by the Jones Act. You may, however, be able to obtain compensation and other benefits if you are injured on the job under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, also called the Longshore Act.
The Longshore Act applies to claims made by maritime workers who are injured on or near navigable waters or in facilities next to such waters that are used for the loading unloading, maintenance, or building of vessels, including:
- Dry dock facilities
One of the key distinctions between the Jones Act and the Longshore Act is the need to establish negligence. To obtain compensation under the Jones Act (other than maintenance and cure benefits), an injured seaman must prove that the employer was negligent and that the negligence played a role, however small, in the seaman’s injury. Longshore Act claims are more akin to workers’ compensation claims in that no fault needs to be allocated so long as the accident or injury occurred on the job.
However, as is the case in other workers’ compensation matters, Longshore Act claims are often incorrectly denied or valued improperly, leaving injured seamen without the benefits to which they are entitled. That is just one reason it is important to retain an experienced maritime injury lawyer if you are an injured seaman or longshoreman.
Learn More About New Orleans Boating Laws and Other Related Laws Today
At Bloom Legal, we have the utmost respect for the hard-working men and women who spend long days working on or near our state’s waters. We fight tirelessly to get sailors, fishermen, oil rig workers, longshoreman, shipyard workers, and harbor employees the maximum amount of compensation available for their injuries.
Contact Bloom Legal today at 504-636-6729 or through our contact form to arrange for your free consultation to discuss the details of your claim and how New Orleans boating laws and/or other maritime laws may apply to your case.
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Posted by: Zachary Klos