New Orleans Maritime Lawyer
If you work offshore and you’ve suffered an injury, maritime law might apply to your case. When you need help getting the compensation you deserve, reach out to a seasoned maritime lawyer in New Orleans for assistance.
No matter what type of vessel you work on, whether that be a ship or an oil platform or in some other type of coastal position, when someone else’s negligent actions have caused you to suffer serious injury, you have the right to hold them accountable.
Maritime law can be complicated and confusing. Maritime claims are similar to personal injury claims, but there are clear differences between the two. Working with a New Orleans maritime lawyer at Braud & Gallagher can be the best way to ensure that you have the legal representation you need to get the most for your offshore injuries.
Important Maritime Laws You Should Know
Despite the fact that maritime laws are complex, it’s important that you educate yourself about the ones that will impact your case. This way, you’ll be better prepared for your upcoming maritime claim. Below, we discuss the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, both of which will affect the way we proceed with your claim.
The Jones Act
Here’s what you need to know about the Jones Act. This federal law was designed to protect injured seamen. Under the Jones Act, every maritime employer is required to ensure that the work environment for seamen is safe.
If a seaman’s employer failed to provide a safe work environment, no matter how minimally they might have contributed to the cause of the accident, they can be held accountable for their worker’s injuries. This includes providing the compensation they need to recover without the burdens of financial anxiety.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) protects maritime employees who work on the water, such as harbor workers, those who work in docks or shipyards, and longshoremen. In order to qualify for LHWCA benefits, an injured maritime worker will need to meet both the status and situs tests.
Essentially, this means that they will need to qualify as a maritime employee in order to obtain compensation through this federal program. Workers who may not be eligible for benefits under the LHWCA would include vessel repairmen, seamen, shipbuilders building vessels under 65 feet long, and aquaculturists.
Filing Your Claim before the Statute of Limitations Expires
You’ll need to make sure that you file your New Orleans maritime claim before the statute of limitations runs out if you want your case to be heard in court. As per the Uniform Statute of Limitations for Maritime Torts, you will have three years from the date of the accident, or from the date your injury is diagnosed, to get your claim filed. If you fail to adhere to the statute of limitations, the court system will refuse to hear your case.
What You Need to Know about Seaworthiness
If you are a seaman whose claim will fall under the Jones Act, you need to know whether or not the ship you were working on was considered seaworthy.
For a vessel to be considered seaworthy, it will need to be 100 percent safe for all workers at all times. If it doesn’t function the way it’s supposed to, or if it doesn’t have the equipment necessary for seamen to do their jobs safely, then the ship will be deemed unseaworthy.
A good example of a vessel being unseaworthy could be if the ship’s owner knows that the seamen need to be restocked on materials, but they’ve held off to cut costs. In this case, the ship will be unseaworthy, and the seamen shouldn’t be working on it until they’ve been given the materials they need to perform their job safely.
Maintenance and Cure for Maritime Injuries
Injured seamen can bring their employers to justice by filing a claim under the Jones Act. Every seaman is entitled to the same types of damages that an individual might pursue in a personal injury claim, including:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of household services
- Damage to your potential future earnings
- Property damages
- Loss of companionship and love
- Interest for your total damages
In addition, as an injured seaman, you’ll be entitled to what’s known as maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers to your living expenses, including your rent or mortgage payments, your groceries, your utilities, and any other costs that will ensure that you are able to keep a roof over your head and food on your plate.
Cure is the coverage of your medical expenses. This will consist of every single healthcare bill that relates to the injuries you sustained. The following are some of the medical expenses that may be considered when calculating the value of your claim:
- Costs of prescription medications
- Ambulance fees
- Medical equipment and installation fees
- Hospital bills
- Diagnostic imaging
- Physical and/or occupational therapy
- Rehabilitative services
Your maritime lawyer will go over every way your life has been influenced by your at-sea injuries, as well as quantify your costs of living and medical expenses so that each damage is accounted for when calculating the value of your claim.
Damages for Those Who Aren’t Seamen
As explained earlier, the aforementioned types of damages are only afforded to injured seamen. Other maritime workers will bring a claim under the LHWCA. Under this act, injured workers are able to collect approximately 66 percent of their average weekly wages while they are unable to work.
The great thing about LHWCA benefits is that they cover injuries classified as being total partial disabilities, temporary partial disabilities, permanent total disabilities, and permanent partial disabilities, whereas state workers compensation coverage does not typically extend to those with a permanent partial disability.
In addition to your disability benefits, you’ll also be entitled to all medical expenses that relate to your work injuries (including transportation costs) and vocational rehabilitation benefits if your physician determines that your injuries will prevent you from returning to the same industry you worked in when you were injured.
Injured seamen and other maritime workers alike have concerns about filing a claim with either the Jones Act or the LHWCA. We understand how complicated the maritime laws can be, which is why we’ve included some of the most commonly asked questions our clients have had below. You can also contact us directly to discuss the details of your case.
Which workers are considered seamen?
To be considered a seaman, you will need to spend a significant amount of your time working with a vessel or fleet of vessels that is currently working on or capable of working on navigable waters. Your New Orleans maritime attorney will be able to let you know whether or not you will be classified as a seaman.
Do I get to choose my own doctor?
The vast majority of workers are able to choose a physician with whom they are comfortable, with the exception of those connected with some unions, which may require that you see a specific medical group. If your employer has told you that you need to see a physician of their choosing, speak with your attorney immediately.
How much will it cost to hire an attorney?
The cost of a maritime claim and your lawyer’s services depends on the circumstances of your case. You won’t be required to pay anything up front or until we win your case. This is known as an attorney contingency fee, and we’ll work together to come up with a fee that won’t break your bank.
Get in Touch with a New Orleans Maritime Attorney
If you need help securing the compensation you need to move forward with your life after a maritime incident, work with a qualified New Orleans maritime lawyer at Braud & Gallagher.
We are proud to offer all injured maritime workers a free consultation where we can meet and review the specifics of your injury. Simply give our office a call at 1-800-256-5674 or fill out the quick contact form we’ve provided below to schedule yours today.
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