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Jones Act Lawyers in New Orleans

Were you hurt while working on the water? You’re not alone. The maritime industry is often considered one of the most dangerous in the country, with thousands of workers suffering injuries every year.

Louisiana plays a central role in the American domestic maritime industry, as it’s the number one state in per capita jobs. While maritime jobs are a crucial part of our community, these workers face serious hazards every day.

If you or a loved one was injured on a registered vessel in New Orleans, you probably have many questions like:

Is my employer responsible? 

Can I get workers’ compensation? 

At The Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux, we’re here to answer those questions and help you obtain any compensation you’re entitled to. Our experienced Jones Act lawyers know how difficult life can be after suffering an injury. Call us today and we’ll help you navigate the complicated waters of maritime law.

What Is Maritime Law?

Maritime law, also referred to as admiralty law, is a complex body of law that governs issues that occur on the water, including injury to persons.

In other words, if you were injured while working on the water, you will be covered under general maritime law instead of standard workers’ compensation insurance, which covers most land-based employees.

Maritime workers can receive compensation through one of two federally mandated programs: The Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).

Recovering compensation under maritime law is especially complicated. Having a Jones Act lawyer who understands the specific rules and regulations that apply to the maritime industry will be to your benefit.

Maritime and Offshore Injury FAQs

Have you been hurt in a maritime or offshore accident?

We know you are likely to have many questions, and knowing where to turn for help can make things even more confusing. We’ve listed some of the most commonly asked questions regarding maritime claims and provided answers to help you know where to begin. With one of the largest maritime workforces in the nation, it’s important that every Louisiana maritime and offshore worker know their rights.

Maritime law governs any accidents and injuries that occur on navigable waters. This can include lakes, oceans, rivers, and any body of water where commercial shipping can take place.

Federal maritime law applies to offshore injury cases rather than Louisiana state law, in order to maintain uniformity across all maritime cases. However, keep in mind that different federal maritime laws will apply to your case depending on your unique situation. For example, you may have a Jones Act case, a Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act case, or a general maritime law case.

If you’ve been injured in a maritime or offshore accident, it’s important to contact an experienced maritime lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Maritime law is especially difficult to navigate without help from a legal professional because there are many complex laws and regulations governing this body of law. Maritime cases are different to any other type of injury case and the best course of action will depend on your specific situation. With this in mind, the sooner you contact a lawyer for guidance in these situations, the better.

At The Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux, it won’t cost you anything to hire our maritime lawyers. We believe everyone should have access to a quality attorney after suffering a maritime or offshore injury. That’s why we offer 100% free consultations and you won’t owe us anything at all unless we win your case. This way, your focus can be on recovering from your injuries instead of worrying about whether or not you can afford to hire a lawyer.

Today, there is no difference between maritime law and admiralty law. However, this wasn’t always the case, so it understandably causes some confusion. Historically, admiralty law referred to a judicial court that ruled over contracts of the sea in the early American and English colonies. Maritime law, on the other hand, was established to protect seamen and address the dangerous working conditions often found on offshore vessels. 

Now, these two terms are used interchangeably, but refer to the same area of law governing injuries and accidents on navigable waters.

Unlike land-based workers, seamen are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under state or federal law when they’re hurt on the job. Therefore, the Jones Act is a federal law that allows seamen who are injured at work the right to sue their employer for their accident-related expenses and losses. If you are considered a seamen – a crewmember, captain, or other employee who spends the majority of their job on a vessel – and you become injured while performing your work duties, you may be able to file a Jones Act claim in order to recover compensation for your damages.

Jones Act claims have a three-year statute of limitations, meaning you have three years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit. Despite this time period, it’s a good idea to file your claim as quickly as possible after your accident occurs. After three years have elapsed, you run the risk of losing your right to recover compensation for your injuries. With this in mind, acting quickly is essential to ensure you don’t miss this important deadline and your chance of recovering the compensation you need to move forward after your accident.

If you’ve been injured in an accident offshore, the first thing to do is report your injury to your employer or the appropriate party. It’s also wise to submit a statement to your employer detailing exactly what happened so there is clear evidence that you notified the proper authority of the incident after it happened. Next, it’s important to seek medical attention for your injuries and follow your doctor’s orders exactly. It’s best not to return to work if you’re injured, as this can be used against you later on. Finally, contact an experienced attorney who knows the law surrounding offshore injury cases to ensure you have the best chance of recovering the full amount you’re owed for your medical bills and other losses.

Claiming your injury isn’t serious or that it wasn’t work-related is a common strategy that employers can use to avoid liability. This is why notifying your employer of your accident in writing, taking photos of your injuries, and keeping detailed medical records, can be crucial to supporting your claim. If you’ve been injured in an offshore accident while performing your work duties and your supervisor isn’t taking your injuries seriously, gather all the evidence and information possible related to your accident, and consult an attorney as soon as possible.

When the oil industry largely went offshore, protection under maritime law was extended to offshore oilfield and gas workers, such as those working on jack-up drilling rigs and dredgers. Many oilfield workers who are hurt on the job have been able to recover compensation for their losses under general maritime law or the Jones Act. 

It’s also important to note that some oil and gas workers spend a majority of their time on shore, working mainly on fixed oil platforms. These workers may not qualify for protecting under the Jones Act, since they likely won’t be considered a “seaman.” However, they may still qualify for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

If you’ve been injured in a maritime or offshore accident and have questions about your case and how to best proceed, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at The Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux today for help.

Get the Help You Deserve From an Experienced Maritime Lawyer

Maritime and offshore injuries can arise from a number of different situations. Whether you’ve suffered a severe laceration, a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or serious burns, you can call our New Orleans Jones Act lawyers at The Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux so we can review the details of your case.

Maritime injury cases are particularly difficult and may require an experienced attorney. We’ll fight for the money you need to recover and move forward. All you have to do is call our maritime lawyers.

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The Jones Act Explained

Working on a vessel is inherently risky and often leads to serious accidents. The Jones Act is intended to protect the rights of seamen and provide compensation in the event that they’re injured on the job.

Here’s what you need to know:

Are You a Seaman?

To receive compensation under the Jones Act, you must be a seaman. A seaman is defined as anyone who is “a master or member of a crew of any vessel.” Furthermore, to be considered a member of a crew, you must contribute to the vessel’s function and spend no less than 30 percent of your employment hours on a vessel or a number of vessels.

Who Is Covered?

Typically, the Jones Act covers:

  • Masters
  • Mates
  • Sailors
  • Surveyors
  • Carpenters & Metalworkers
  • Coopers
  • Stewards
  • Cooks
  • Cabin & Kitchen Workers
  • Doctors
  • Engineers
  • Pilots
  • Firemen
  • Deck Hands
  • Waiters & Bartenders
  • Oil Rig Workers

These workers tend to be employed on vessels including but not limited to:

  • Drill Ships
  • Tug Boats
  • Floating Cranes
  • Cruise Ships
  • Fishing Vessels
  • Construction Barges
  • Cargo Ships
  • Tankers
  • Diving Vessels
  • Recreational Boats
  • Drilling Rigs

Do You Have to Prove Negligence?

Under the Jones Act, injured maritime workers are required to show that their employer’s negligence caused their injuries in order to recover compensation. While you do have to prove negligence when filing a Jones Act claim, maritime employers owe their employees an extremely high duty of care and are, therefore, responsible for ensuring the workplace environment is safe.

Examples of employer negligence can include but are not limited to:

  • Inadequate training
  • Demanding long work hours
  • Missing or faulty safety equipment
  • Enforcing speed over safety
  • Defective equipment
  • Negligence by another crew member
  • Poor staffing practices
  • Ignoring safety protocols
  • Navigational mistakes

If you work aboard a vessel and were injured as a part of your employment duties, you may be entitled to significant compensation under the Jones Act.

Do You Have to Be Injured While at Sea?

The Jones Act covers seamen who have suffered injuries associated with their employment. However, keep in mind that your injury doesn’t have to occur while the vessel is at sea to be considered a “maritime injury.”

As long as you are a seaman and you can demonstrate that your injury was a result of your employer’s negligence, you should be covered under the Jones Act, regardless of where the injury took place.

Examples may include:

  • On docks and wharves
  • Transportation to and from the vessel
  • At a training facility
  • On a vessel owned by another employer
  • And, of course, on a vessel owned by your employer

 

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Types of Maritime Injuries & Accidents

Due to the dangerous nature of the industry, maritime and offshore accidents typically result in serious injuries. Here are some of the most common maritime accidents and injuries:

Accidents involving a fire or explosion happen easily in the maritime industry due to poorly maintained equipment and dangerous, flammable materials and cargo. There is also always a risk of fire or explosion when hot work jobs involving welding, burning, or brazing are performed onboard. These accidents cause injuries such as serious burns, smoke or toxic vapor inhalation, loss of limbs, and sometimes death.

From slippery surfaces on the deck and unstable stairs or platforms to falls from a ladder or other heights, slip and fall accidents are incredibly common among maritime workers. These accidents typically lead to severe head, brain, back, and neck injuries.

Spaces aboard vessels, such as cargo areas, corridors, and storage rooms, may have low oxygen levels and allow workers limited space for safe movement. As a result, maritime workers run the risk of suffering asphyxia and toxic fume poisoning, especially if safety protocols aren’t followed or the right protective gear isn’t supplied.

The maritime industry involves a lot of specialized, heavy equipment. If this equipment fails, is maintained poorly, or operated carelessly, the chances of someone getting hurt are high. Accidents due to equipment failure tend to involve broken bones, electric shocks, burns, head trauma, and more.

Lost Future Wages & Maritime Injuries

If you are a maritime worker who has suffered an injury on the job, you may be wondering what compensation will cover. Under the Jones Act, you may be able to receive what is known as “maintenance” and “cure” from your employer.

Maintenance refers to the daily compensation benefit to replace your daily wages while you recover. This allowance is intended to cover the costs of shelter and food that you would have received aboard the vessel had you not become injured.

Cure simply refers to the cost of your medical expenses required to “cure” your injuries that resulted from your maritime accident.

In addition to maintenance and cure, you may be entitled to other types of compensation, depending on the circumstances of your accident.

What Our Clients Are Saying

5 Star Testimonials

Dawn M.

Mr. Blaine Barrilleaux and his staff made this process as painless as possible. This was my first time going through a lawsuit and he and his staff made me very comfortable and went above and beyond to make sure I understood the process and what to expect. I would recommend this law firm to anyone seeking help.

Lafayette, Louisiana USA

Donna

Anytime I needed anything Blaine’s team was there to help me. They were friendly and on top of everything I asked for. I really appreciate how hard and quickly they worked to resolve my case. I would highly recommend Blaine Barrilleaux Law for anyone needing legal help.

Lafayette, LA, USA

Jeff and Michelle

Blaine Barrilleaux and his staff went beyond what was ever expected. Blaine was very easy to talk to and he listened to all my needs and concerns. They truly care. Thanks Blaine for all you did for us.

Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Kimberly S.

Blaine and his staff treated my family with the most respect. Blaine cares for his clients and goes above and beyond for them. Thank you Blaine for all your hard work and time in my case.

Morgan City, LA, USA

Learn More About Your Maritime Injury

Our Jones Act lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of Louisiana’s offshore and maritime workers. Your initial consultation is ALWAYS 100% free. In fact, you won’t pay us a dime unless we obtain successful results for your claim. This way, you can retain our services without ever having to worry about expensive hourly legal fees.

To discuss your maritime injury in more detail, call The Law Offices of Blaine Barrilleaux at 337-221-4910 or fill out our online contact form. We represent maritime workers in New Orleans and many communities across Louisiana.

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