Do I Need a Maritime Lawyer?
Experienced Legal Assistance from Maritime Lawyers in Louisiana for Injuries On or Near the Water
Maritime and offshore accidents are different than typical workers’ compensation claims. Specific acts, including the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, provide recovery for different kinds of maritime accidents and injuries. Because maritime injury claims have this extra layer of complexity, it is in a victim’s best interest to contact a maritime attorney.
Our maritime lawyers have handled more than a thousand injury cases since 1996. We represent workers in Lafayette, Lake Charles, Sulphur, Calcasieu Parish and the surrounding Louisiana coastal region. Co-founder and partner Rusty Galloway spent years working in the maritime industry aboard oil rigs. Because of this experience, he and the firm investigate when employers fail to provide safe working environments.
What Do I Do After a Maritime Injury?
- Seek treatment. Worry about medical costs later. Failure to get immediate help could cause serious damage.
- Fill out an incident report. Having timely and accurate records will be an enormous help for proving the facts of your case. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself.
- Aside from the initial report, do not sign any paperwork from the employer without an attorney’s review. You could be signing away certain rights you otherwise have.
- Seek legal counsel before giving any recorded statements about injuries at sea.
- If the employer employs its own medical staff, then seek independent verification of your injuries from an unaffiliated medical professional.
The Difference Between The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
Maritime workers are not governed by the same workers’ compensation system as other employees. If you are injured at sea aboard a vessel, maritime law says you are entitled to maintenance and cure, no matter who is at fault. This means that the ship owner is responsible for covering basic living expenses like rent, utilities and food (maintenance) along with necessary medical expenses to recover from the injury (cure). This lasts until the injured seaman reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI). In other words, this is as good as he or she is going to get. Some of these rules may vary for union members.
Additionally, maritime injuries are covered under two acts: the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The Jones Act protects workers classified as seamen, or people who spend a significant amount of time working as a crewmember or captain on a vessel in navigation. Visit our Jones Act page for more details.
The LHWCA covers the rest of maritime workers, including shipbuilders, ship repairmen and similar jobs that work on or near navigable water. For more information on the LHWCA, see our page on the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.