Maritime Injury Lawyer

The maritime industry plays a crucial role in Louisiana’s economy. However, this sector also poses an extraordinary risk of injuries and casualties for maritime workers, often due to the negligence and carelessness of others.

At Galloway Jefcoat, we have spent over 25 years advocating for injured victims throughout Louisiana. Attorney Rusty Galloway has personally assisted thousands of injured victims, including those injured in maritime accidents.

Our legal team has in-depth knowledge of federal and state maritime laws, and our number one priority is earning your trust and getting the results you need after being injured on the job.

Not sure if you have a case? We offer free, no-risk case reviews to discuss your situation and determine your potential legal options. Additionally, if we represent you, there are zero upfront costs to pay.

Galloway Jefcoat. Turning wrong into right. Call 337-984-8020 today.

What Laws May Cover My Injuries as a Maritime Worker?

Maritime employees are covered under a different set of federal laws. They are not eligible to file for benefits under workers’ compensation, unlike those who work on dry land and suffer a work-related injury.

If you are a maritime worker, there are several laws you could qualify for benefits under, including:

  • The Jones Act
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)
  • Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)
  • Limitation of Liability Act
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  • Death on the High Seas Act

If you suffered a work-related injury, our knowledgeable maritime lawyers in Louisiana are prepared to evaluate the circumstances of your injury to determine which of these laws may apply.

We offer a free initial case review to determine if you qualify for compensation under one of these laws and which types of compensation you may be eligible for.

What Is the Jones Act in Maritime Law?

The Jones Act is a federal law designed to protect eligible maritime workers who get injured on the job. Under this law, eligible maritime employees can seek compensation for their work-related injuries.

The Jones Act applies specifically to seamen who suffer damages following work-related injuries, occupational diseases and other types of maritime injuries.

Who May Qualify for Compensation Under the Jones Act?

Whatever your work role is in the maritime industry, an attorney will need to review the unique circumstances of your situation. There are multiple contributing factors that determine whether you may seek compensation under the Jones Act.

In general, however, you may be considered eligible under the Jones Act if:

  • You are a maritime worker who spends over 30 percent of your working hours on a vessel in navigation that operates on a navigable waterway.
  • You were injured in a work-related incident on navigable waters, such as the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, or any waterway used in the transportation of interstate or foreign commerce.
  • Someone else’s negligence caused the accident and your subsequent injuries

Types of Workers Who May Qualify for Compensation Under the Jones Act

While support workers, such as clerical staff, are not eligible to seek compensation under the Jones Act, many maritime workers who work on a vessel in navigation may qualify, including:

  • Captains
  • Engineers
  • Anchors
  • Deckhands
  • Divers
  • Drillers
  • Fishermen
  • Stewards
  • Mates
  • Pilots
  • Bartenders

Call Galloway Jefcoat after a maritime injury to discuss how we turn wrong into right. 337-984-8020

How Much Could a Jones Act Case Be Worth?

Maritime injury claims are individually assessed for their unique values. The reason for this is that there are many contributing factors that could increase the value of a case, including the type and severity of your injuries.

Overall, the compensation that qualifying maritime workers may be eligible to recover extends beyond what you could expect to receive under a workers’ compensation claim. The damages, which more closely resemble those you might seek in a personal injury claim, may include:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity

Are There Filing Deadlines That Apply to The Jones Act?

There is a statute of limitations for seeking compensation under the Jones Act following a work-related maritime injury.

Under federal laws, maritime workers have three years from the date of the accident, injury or illness. Failure to seek benefits before that deadline will likely prohibit you from being able to recover compensation for your maritime injury or illness.

Understanding the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

The LHWCA covers many maritime workers who are not eligible to recover compensation for their work-related injuries under The Jones Act.

You may qualify for compensation under the LHWCA if you suffered maritime injuries while you were working on U.S. navigable waterways on docks or piers, shipping areas, terminals and wharves.

In Louisiana, you may be eligible for benefits under the LHWCA if you performed your primary work duties on land by the Gulf of Mexico.

What Is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act?

The OCSLA protects natural resources and regulates oil and gas excavation. However, it also helps injured maritime workers who are employed on temporary or permanent fixtures that are either fixed on the seafloor or floating on the outer continental shelf. The OCSLA also helps those injured while working on submerged lands lying seaward of state coastal waters or working outside of the area of lands beneath navigable waters.

The OCSLA covers those who work on:

  • Oil rigs
  • Natural gas rigs
  • Floating dry docks
  • Floating production, storage and offloading systems
  • Wind turbines
  • Floating production systems
  • Artificial islands

To qualify, your injury or illness must have occurred while performing your work-related duties.

What Is the Limitation of Liability Act?

The Limitation of Liability Act was enacted in 1851. The intention of this act is to help protect shipowners by limiting their amount of liability after an unforeseen maritime incident or casualty. To be eligible, the incident must have occurred on navigable waters in the U.S. This act applies to ship owners, as well as leaseholders if they have possession, control and command of a vessel.

Are There Exceptions to the Limitation of Liability Act?

Ship owners cannot be eligible to file a claim if they knew or should have known that certain negligence could have led to an accident and caused others harm.

The Limitation of Liability Act applies to owners of canal boats, barges and seagoing vessels. It also applies to vessels operating on lakes, rivers and inland navigation.

Death on the High Seas Act

If your loved one was an eligible maritime worker who suffered a fatal injury three or more nautical miles from land, you may qualify to seek compensation under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).

As the plaintiff in this type of claim, you would have the burden of proof. What this means is that you or your attorney must be able to prove that another party’s negligent actions resulted in the accident that caused your loved one’s death. In other words, but for that party’s negligence, the accident and your loved ones fatal injuries would not have occurred.

The types of events or actions that could qualify for a DOHSA claim include fatal injuries due to:

  • Failure to follow proper safety procedures and regulations
  • Failure to provide adequate medical care following an injury
  • Insufficient training of crew members or other maritime workers
  • A vessel that overturned and/or sank
  • Fires or explosions on the vessel
  • Defective or poorly maintained equipment aboard the vessel

Who May Qualify as a Beneficiary Under a DOHSA Claim?

A DOHSA claim can only be filed by certain qualifying individuals. Specifically, only the direct relatives who are financially dependent on the deceased can seek compensation under DOHSA. Potentially eligible claimants could include the following surviving relatives:

  • Spouse
  • Children – biological, step-children and adopted children may qualify
  • Parents – if they were financially dependent on the deceased maritime worker
  • Siblings – if they were financially dependent on the deceased at the time of his or her death

What if My Family Member Was Partly at Fault?

If the seaman contributed to the accident that caused his or her death in some way, it could impact your claim. While you may still be eligible to seek compensation for your loved one’s damages, such as medical costs and other losses, any compensation awarded would be reduced by the percentage of his or her assessed liability.

What Types of Compensation May Be Awarded in a DOHSA Claim?

Unfortunately, a DOHSA claim does not permit family members to seek compensation for emotional suffering or mental distress following their loved one’s death. The damages you can seek in a DOHSA claim are intended to compensate you for certain types of pecuniary financial losses. This means they are tangible and can be readily proven with documentation, such as medical invoices, paystubs and employment records.

Dependent family members may be eligible to recover compensation for:

  • Lost wages
  • Burial/funeral expenses
  • Loss of service
  • Financial support
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Your loved one’s pre-death pain and suffering
  • Loss of benefits, including any anticipated pension
  • Loss of guidance and nurturing to dependent children

Call Our Maritime Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Review

We recognize there are many unique challenges that maritime workers and their families often have to face after suffering an injury on the job. However, we are tenacious in our pursuit of financial compensation and legal justice.

If you were injured while performing your duties as a maritime worker in Louisiana, you may be eligible to seek compensation and other benefits under one of these federal laws.

At Galloway Jefcoat, we have extensive knowledge of these laws and how they may apply to you in your situation.

Need legal help for your maritime injuries? Call our law offices today to learn if you have legal options.

We turn wrong into right every day. Call 337-984-8020.