The life of a maritime worker can be treacherous. Workers on offshore oil rigs, natural gas wells, and support vessels face harsh conditions and are often far from first responders and other emergency services.
Offshore and maritime positions are among the most dangerous in the world, but they’re an important part of Louisiana’s culture and economy. Our experienced maritime accident lawyers understand the relevant laws and state statutes that protect Louisiana’s maritime workers.
If you’ve suffered an offshore or maritime injury, don’t hesitate to call us at 337-240-9349 or toll free at 800-836-3702 for a free evaluation of your case.
Occupational Hazards and Louisiana Workers
A maritime accident can be devastating to an individual and his or her family. According to a report conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), onshore and offshore oil and gas extraction industries have a collective fatality rate seven times higher than all other U.S. workers.
According to the most recent maritime accident statistics, between 2003 and 2010, 128 maritime workers were killed in activities related to offshore oil and gas operations. Many of these deaths were transportation related, often involving an aircraft; all but one of these fatalities occurred near Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.
Occupational fatality rates are more common in Louisiana compared to other states.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Louisiana ranks 6th among all states for fatal occupational hazards.
More specifically, middle-aged, white (non-Hispanic) males are most at risk. Louisiana occupations with the highest fatality count include jobs involving natural resources, construction, maintenance, oil and gas extraction, transportation, and material moving.
Fortunately, most maritime injuries aren’t fatal; however, accidents happen and workers do get hurt. Common non-fatal injuries suffered by maritime workers include:
- Burns: Seamen must avoid fires and explosions, hot machinery and fluids, and highly flammable materials to ensure their safety in a maritime position.
- Neck and back injuries: These common injuries are not usually fatal, but they can affect a seaman’s ability to work and maintain an earning potential.
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spine are serious and can often result in paralysis, loss of mobility or function.
- Eye injuries: A serious eye injury can lead to blindness or severely impair a worker’s ability to maintain a maritime position.
- Slips and Falls: These accidents are common ship and platform injuries and often range in severity.
- Amputation: Loss of limb can result during an offshore accident or later as a result of medical treatment. Whatever the case, amputations have long term effects on both the individual and his or her family.
- Brain injuries: Maritime workers that suffer a serious brain injury often have trouble with cognitive and neurological functions.
- Audio trauma: Regular exposure to loud machinery can result in permanent hearing loss, which directly impacts a worker’s abilities and his or her quality of life.
Our maritime accident lawyers guide injured workers through complicated red tape to ensure all offshore and maritime injury claims receive the best representation.
If you’ve been injured or become ill in a maritime position we want to hear from you. Call 800-836-3702 to speak with a representative now!
Maritime Law: The Basics
There are two basic types of maritime workers: seamen are workers that spend the majority of their time aboard a vessel, ship, or boat; the second type of maritime worker is everyone else who works on or near the water.
Whether you work near the water or out at sea, all maritime workers are afforded certain protections under maritime law. Compensation for a maritime injury will depend on which of these two categories is relevant to your case.
Unlike most occupations, injured seamen are not eligible to receive workers’ compensation.
Maritime law, or admiralty law, is a broad legal term used to describe a body of regulations that govern U.S. and international contracts, torts, injuries, and offenses that occur on the water.
Maritime workers are protected by general maritime law, which includes provisions such as maintenance and cure, personal injury, and piracy.
More specifically, general maritime law helps ensure all maritime employers operate safe and seaworthy vessels; the provisions also include a seaman’s owed transportation, wages, lodging, and medical services received throughout the length of a voyage.
According to maritime law, it is the ship owner’s responsibility to ensure the vessel is safe and seaworthy, or reasonably adequate in design, maintenance, and character to perform its intended functions. In other words, if a vessel isn’t safe, for any reason, the owner can be held liable for injuries sustained on the job, even if the owner isn’t found to be at fault or negligent.
The Jones Act
In the event a fellow crew member or ship owner is the cause of an accident, the Jones Act enables a seaman, or his surviving spouse or dependents, to peruse a claim against the employer or vessel owner.
The Jones Act, historically known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a U.S. federal statute that allows seamen to sue their employer for negligence damages.
The Jones Act has extremely low standards for proving negligence. Unlike a car accident, where a defendant’s negligence must be the main cause of a crash, the Jones Act accepts any degree of negligence, however small, when assessing a maritime injury.
If a vessel owner, employer, or maritime crew member played any part in your accident or injury, you may be eligible to pursue negligent damages under the protections of the Jones Act.
Maritime Accident Lawyers You Can Count On
Remember, occupational injuries may require ongoing medical treatment, physical therapy, or other extended services. Settling a case before receiving maximum medical improvement is not recommended since you can’t be sure all medical expenses will be paid.
If you’ve been injured or suffered an illness working on the water, the lawyers at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson want to hear from you.
We take all personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent fee basis; this means we only get paid if we win your case.
Call 337-240-9349 or toll free at 800-836-3702 to receive a free evaluation of your case, or use this easy online form to send your case details to us directly.
Don’t wait! Each maritime claim has unique circumstances and may be subject to requirements you are not aware of, including statutes of limitations, compensation limitations, and more.
Call 800-836-3702 to speak with an attorney today.