Mistakes to Avoid in Your Maritime Injury Case

Mistakes to Avoid in Your Maritime Injury Case

If you work on or around the waters of New Orleans, you may be considered a maritime employee. Understanding your maritime employee status will be critical if you are seriously injured at work and will need medical attention of any kind. 

Filing a maritime injury claim can be even more complex than a typical personal injury claim, as there are multiple types of maritime employees, each with their own types of benefits. Below, we have described two of the most common mistakes you should avoid when filing your maritime injury case. 

1. Filing the Wrong Type of Injury Claim

Due to the fact that there are different types of maritime employees and acts under which you can obtain financial support following a work injury, we often find that injured maritime workers will file a claim under the wrong act. If you want to ensure that you don’t make this mistake, you need to understand which type of maritime employee you are and which act you should file a claim under. 

Maritime employees are broken up into two categories: seamen and other maritime employees, like harbor workers, shipyard workers, longshoremen, and those who work on oil rigs. Injured seamen are protected by the Jones Act, while other maritime employees can collect benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).

It is often easier to obtain benefits under the Jones Act, as the burden of proof essentially states that if a ship is deemed unseaworthy as a result of an injury, the injured seaman will be entitled to benefits. LHWCA benefits are similar to workers compensation benefits, except only maritime employees can obtain benefits under this act. 

2. Misunderstanding Your Benefits as a Maritime Worker

The other mistake that is commonly made is for the injured maritime employee to misunderstand what benefits they are entitled to, which makes sense, since many claimants make the mistake of filing a claim under the wrong act for their maritime injuries. 

Jones Act recipients are entitled to all of the same types of losses that someone filing a personal injury claim would potentially be able to recover, such as pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, and lost income, to name a few. 

In addition to these losses, injured seamen are also entitled to what is known as maintenance and cure. Cure refers to the complete coverage of your injury-related medical expenses, and maintenance consists of your living expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, groceries, and utilities, among other costs. 

This is different from benefits under the LHWCA, which consist of full coverage of your medical expenses, a disability benefit amounting to approximately 66 percent of your average weekly wages, and job training if your condition will prevent you from continuing to work as a maritime employee. 

Reach Out to a New Orleans Maritime Injury Lawyer

Federal maritime laws are complex, and when you have questions about how you can obtain benefits for your work injury, a New Orleans maritime lawyer may be able to help. To schedule your free consultation at the Law Office of Braud & Gallagher, simply give our firm a call at 1-800-256-5674 or fill out our contact form on the bottom of this page.

Can I Be Blacklisted for Filing a Maritime Injury Claim?

If you have been injured at work and you work within the maritime industry, you may be entitled to financial support and other benefits. But many times, despite being entitled to said benefits, injured maritime workers will refrain from filing a claim because of the fear of retaliation and being blacklisted. 

Below, we go into further detail about what it means to be blacklisted and retaliated against and what your legal options are if it happens to you.

Concerns over Employer Retaliation

Maritime workers are unable to obtain workers compensation benefits when they suffer an on-the-job injury. But this is due, in part, to the fact that they are protected under federally regulated laws known as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). 

These benefits are similar to workers compensation benefits in many regards. However, injured maritime employees often have concerns of what will happen after they’ve filed a claim. Unfortunately, as mentioned, many maritime workers who suffer serious injuries at work are afraid to file a claim for benefits due to the fear of being blacklisted and/or retaliated against for doing so. 

While there is no official “blacklist” of the maritime industry floating around, it is quite possible that your employer will retaliate against you by attempting to ruin your professional reputation, which could then make it difficult for you to find a new job. 

Other forms of retaliation could include being demoted, terminated, or subjected to a hostile work environment all because you exercised your right to maritime injury benefits

Thankfully, behaviors of this sort will not be tolerated, as both the Jones Act and the LHWCA prohibit employers from blacklisting and retaliating against maritime workers who file a claim and/or are approved for benefits under their respective acts.

Pursuing Your Claim despite the Risks

Though being blacklisted and retaliated against for filing a maritime injury claim is against the law, this, unfortunately, does not stop companies from continuing to do so. However, if you were injured or fell ill due to the conditions of your work environment, you may be entitled to these benefits and should therefore still pursue your claim. 

In the event that your employer retaliates against you and we are able to gather evidence supporting the claims of retaliation, we can pursue a claim against them that could result in back pay, compensation for defamation, reinstatement into your former position, or other damages. 

Get in Touch with a New Orleans Maritime Injury Lawyer

If you are being retaliated against by your employer in some way or if you have concerns that you will be retaliated against for filing a Jones Act or Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act claim, get help from an experienced New Orleans maritime lawyer at the Law Office of Braud & Gallagher

You can fill out the brief contact form at the bottom of this page or give our office a call at 1-800-256-5674 when you are ready to come in for a complimentary consultation.

Can I Sue a Louisiana Government Agency for an Injury?

When someone else’s recklessness or negligence directly or indirectly causes you to endure severe injuries, that individual or entity should be brought to justice.

However, when a government agency is to blame for your accident, your case will immediately become more complex due to a law known as government immunity. Below, we describe what government immunity is and what you can do to ensure the liable party repays you for the damage they’ve caused.

What Is Government Immunity?

Governmental immunity, also known as sovereign immunity, is a law that essentially states that government agencies cannot be held accountable in civil court for liability. However, most states in the U.S. have waived said immunity under specific circumstances.

In Louisiana, for example, claims can be brought against the state or its agencies in personal injury cases, but the damages sought must not be more than $500,000. Now, for many injured individuals, it is fairly easy to reach that sum, but fortunately, this limit does not include recovery of compensation for things such as your loss of income, damage to your earning capacity, healthcare costs, and other economic damages.

It is also important to note that if a government employee was acting within the scope of their responsibilities, the agency will attempt to get out of being held liable through the government immunity law. For this reason, you may need to reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can help you figure out how to proceed with your claim.

Ways You Can Hold a Government Agency Accountable

There are a couple of different ways you can fight to bring the liable government agency in your case to justice. Typically, we will start off by filing a claim with the insurance company, if applicable. We may need to negotiate with the insurer in order to obtain maximum repayment of your losses, and even then, they may not be required to cover the full extent of your damages.

From there, we will need to determine whether it’s in your best interests to bring your case to court to obtain the remaining compensation for losses that are not covered by the insurance company. You can expect your attorney to fully examine the details of your accident before advising you either way.

Although you may have concerns about bringing a claim against a government agency, when someone else is to blame, even if it’s the government, they should cover your costs.

Contact a Qualified Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyer

Bringing a claim against a state agency can be intimidating, but when you have an experienced Louisiana personal injury lawyer from the Law Office of Braud & Gallagher representing your case, you can rest easier knowing we won’t back down when it comes to fighting for the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about how our firm could help with your claim against a government agency, come in for a free consultation. You can schedule yours by completing the online contact form at the bottom of this page or by giving our firm a call at 1-800-256-5674.

Most Common Offshore Oil Rig Injuries

Working on an offshore oil rig leaves you far more likely to suffer a serious injury while performing your work duties. As such, you may be able to obtain financial support through the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (LHWCA), which is similar to statewide workers compensation benefits.

This is because those who work on offshore oil rigs are considered to be a type of maritime employee and are therefore protected under federal law. Below, we go into further detail about how oil rig accidents occur and the benefits you can collect if your claim is approved under the LHWCA.

How Oil Rig Accidents Happen

There are several different ways an accident can occur on or around an oil rig. More often than not, accidents involve heavy objects falling and striking workers or machinery mishaps, including malfunctions and operator errors. Traumatic brain damage, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and other severe injuries are often seen in these kinds of accidents.

In addition to accidents caused by oil rig equipment, exposure to toxic chemicals and explosions are also quite common on oil rigs. These can result in the development of chronic illnesses and severe burns, which are sure to keep the injured employee out of work.

You may be surprised to learn that one of the most frequently seen types of oil rig accidents are those involving transportation to and from the oil rig. When traveling by air or water, the planes and boats can be damaged due to a mechanical malfunction or dangerous weather conditions.

FInally, due to the extremely hard labor that offshore oil rig workers endure on a day-to-day basis, suffering back injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and exhaustion are the norm for dedicated oil rig workers.

Protecting Maritime Workers

As previously stated, oil rig workers are considered maritime employees, which means they are protected under federal law in the event of an on-the-job injury. Since oil rigs are not considered vessels or navigable, oil rig workers are not considered seamen, meaning they will need to file a claim for benefits under the LHWCA rather than the Jones Act.

Under the LHWCA, oil rig employees or their families are entitled to disability benefits, medical expense coverage, job training, and death benefits when they are injured or killed while at work.

Of course, some workers will not be in need of some of these benefits. For instance, if you are able to return to work as an offshore oil rig worker, you won’t be in need of vocational training. Similarly, if you didn’t succumb to your injuries, then your family won’t be in need of death benefits.

Reach Out to an Offshore Oil Rig Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in any of the aforementioned types of oil rig accidents or have otherwise been injured while working on a rig, consult with an experienced offshore oil rig accident lawyer at the Law Office of Braud & Gallagher. You can contact us through the secure submission below or by calling our firm at 1-800-256-5674.