The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, “Workers at marine terminals have a higher fatality, injury, and illness rate than other workers in the U.S.” Maritime jobs are common in Louisiana, as the state borders the Gulf of Mexico.
While maritime jobs play an important role in our economy, they also present many dangers to those who work in the industry. If you or a loved one sustained injuries while working at sea, you have legal rights.
At The Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux, our Slidell maritime lawyers understand the laws that surround offshore accidents. Our legal team can assist you with your claim and will strive to obtain the benefits you are rightfully owed.
Most Common Causes of Maritime Accidents
Due to the dangerous work environment of maritime jobs, accidents happen frequently. Some of the most common causes of maritime accidents include:
Many maritime accidents are due to human error and may have been prevented if workers were properly trained. With this in mind, it’s essential that workers receive in-depth training on safety procedures and how to best respond in case of an emergency.
Workers also need to know how to operate equipment safely. When training is overlooked, it places all workers at a high risk of injury.
Massive equipment is used in the maritime industry. In some cases, this specialized equipment may malfunction or contain defects, resulting in injuries. Equipment can also fail if workers do not effectively communicate with one another.
Lack of Maintenance
Large maritime vessels have multiple systems that must be maintained in order for it to operate properly. Regular maintenance is essential to keeping those who work aboard vessels safe.
These three factors frequently lead to serious injuries, however, there are many other possible causes of maritime accidents.
Common Maritime Injuries
Due to the high-risk environment in which maritime workers operate, they are more susceptible to injuries. While there are numerous injuries that can occur, some of the most common types include the following:
- Slip and falls
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Shoulder injuries
Steps to Take After You Have Been Injured
If you were involved in a maritime accident, it’s imperative that you know how to proceed in order to protect your legal rights. Listed below are several steps to keep in mind immediately following a maritime accident:
Step 1: Inform your supervisor of the accident
It’s important to notify your supervisor immediately after your accident. Failure to do so can damage your future claim. If you wait to inform your employer, insurance companies may believe that your injuries were not severe. Even if you believe your accident was minor, always report it to your supervisor.
Step 2: Take photographs of the accident scene and your injuries
Taking photographs of the accident scene and any injuries that you suffered can support your claim. Pictures can prove the severity of your injuries and specific details about the accident.
Step 3: Seek medical attention
Seeking medical attention after an accident is vital if you plan to seek compensation for damages. An examination by a doctor will determine what type of treatment will be necessary for your recovery. Without medical records and documentation of treatment, it will be difficult to prove how your injuries have impacted your life.
Step 4: Contact a Slidell maritime lawyer
Filing a claim to receive compensation is not a straightforward process. For this reason, consulting an attorney will be in your best interest. An experienced lawyer can ensure you have the necessary paperwork and information needed for a successful claim.
These steps may help protect your legal rights and any compensation you may be entitled to receive after a maritime injury. If you wait too long, you risk negatively impacting your right to compensation. Contact our office as soon as possible, so we can review your claim and determine your legal options.
The Jones Act
In the maritime industry, there are certain laws in place that protect workers who suffer an injury while on the job. It’s important that you are aware of these laws, and which ones apply to your case.
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, provides compensation to seamen in the event that they sustain an injury. In order to be covered under the Jones Act, you must be considered a seaman. To be recognized as a seaman, you must spend at least 30 percent of your time on the job aboard a vessel.
One thing to remember is that, under the Jones Act, an injured worker has the opportunity to take legal action against their employer for damages. Proving negligence can be difficult and time-consuming. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced maritime attorney about your legal options. If you have grounds to file a lawsuit, we can guide you through the legal process.
What If You’re Not Considered a Seaman?
If you’re not considered a seaman, then you may be covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Most maritime workers who are not seamen will be covered under this act.
Harbor workers, for example, fall under this category. While states have workers’ compensation acts in place to protect injured workers, the Longshore and Harbor Act will likely provide more compensation.
If you’re injured, you may be able to file your claim under both the LHWCA and the workers’ compensation act that your state provides, but you will not be able to receive benefits from both for the same injury.
Understanding Your Legal Rights
With nearly 20 years of legal experience, we know what it takes to help injured victims obtain the compensation they are rightfully owed. Our attention to detail and dedication to seeing our clients receive justice will be to your advantage.
At The Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux, we take maritime law seriously and believe workers’ rights should always be protected. We represent injured residents in Slidell, Lafayette, and Metairie, Louisiana.
Keep in mind that every case is unique, so our team of attorneys will need to review the circumstances of your individual case to determine your legal options.
To better understand maritime law and the types of benefits potentially available after an accident, please don’t hesitate to contact our law firm. You can reach us by calling 337-989-1212, or filling out our contact form below to schedule a free case evaluation.
We are ready to answer any questions you have about your accident.