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Houma Maritime Injury Lawyer 

Injuries that occur on water can have serious consequences. Maritime accidents can involve boats, swimmers, or even jet skis. The marine environment is dangerous as a natural force, and when you add other elements to the equation, that risk goes up.

Potential causes of injuries include an accident with a boat, colliding jet skis, swimmers being injured by maritime equipment, or any other scenario involving the water. These types of accidents are also more likely to occur in Houma because of its proximity to the Gulf coast, the many bayous, lakes and bays.

By speaking to a Houma maritime injury lawyer, you can get a better idea of the types of laws involved in your suit. You may be entitled to damages in the form of compensation for any injuries you sustained, but to move forward, you will first have to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney for advice.

Accidents Involving Boats, Jet Skis, and Swimmers

For these types of accidents, the general law regarding negligence applies. In order to show negligence, a Houma maritime injury attorney will have to prove that the other side acted negligently. To do this, all four of the elements of negligence have to be met. First, there was a duty to act which is the duty to act as a reasonable person in the same situation. Next, it must be shown that the other party breached that duty. Breach usually occurs when one person fails to act reasonably.

Third, it must be shown that the person caused the injury both actually and proximately. To prove actual causation, one must demonstrate that the person was the reason for the injuries. Proximate cause means that there were no intervening acts between the negligent act and the injury. Also, one must prove that it was foreseeable that this injury could occur. Lastly, to prove negligence, a person has to have suffered an injury.

Injuries Involving Seamen and Harbor Workers

Another category of Houma maritime injuries concerns employees working on a boat or vessel. There are many laws in place to protect employees from injuries they sustain while at work, and specific ones for seamen and harbor workers. One specific law that covers all injuries suffered by crew members on vessels, tug boats, barges, crewboats, supply boats, drilling barges, semi-submersible drilling rigs, lift boats, seagoing vessels, barges and other contrivances is the Jones Act. This act will cover any negligent act by the owner or crew of a boat, or waterway craft which causes injury.

General Maritime Law

The General Maritime law provides that any crew-member injured in the service of the vessel is entitled to have their medical care paid by their employer under the doctrine of Cure, regardless of fault. If the injured crew member is unable to return to work, they are entitled to a daily stipend known as Maintenance, roughly equivalent to the value of room and board while serving on the vessel, again a no-fault benefit.

The General Maritime Law also requires a vessel owner/operator to maintain a safe and seaworthy vessel including the fittings and appurtenances of the vessel. If the owner/operator of the vessel fails to maintain the vessel, its fittings and appurtenances in a seaworthy condition which results in injury to a crewmember, the injured crew member may maintain a claim for Unseaworthiness.

One difference between an Unseaworthiness claim and a Jones Act claim is that there is no requirement to prove negligence. For example, a seaman assisting in docking a vessel, suffers injury when a cleat or fitting used in securing the vessel breaks. The fitting failure would be an unseaworthy condition for which the injured seaman could maintain an Unseaworthiness claim, even though the owner/operator of the vessel had no knowledge of any defect in the cleat or fitting.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

This law protects non-seamen employees who are injured while working on vessels or boats on navigable waters, as well as dockside workers. By a special law, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, this law (LHCA) protects oilfield and maritime workers on stationary fixed off shore platforms.

The Outer Continental Shelf is a Federal enclave and varies from state to state as to the distance from shore where it begins. Claims made under this act will provide for medical care, disability compensation, and wrongful death compensation to a family if they lose someone.

The law actually has a chart that lists the amount of compensation depending on the specific type of loss. For example, losing a toe entitles an employee to thirty-eight weeks of compensation beyond what is paid in temporary total compensation while the injured employee is recuperating. This law is extremely detailed and complicated, which is why speaking to Houma maritime injury lawyers is helpful, as they can explain the law and how it affects the situation.

How a Houma Maritime Injury Attorney Can Help

There are so many variations on the law regarding maritime injuries. It can be difficult to understand which law applies to your situation.

However, a Houma maritime injury lawyer can listen to your case and explain what the best cause of action would be for your situation. Then you can decide how you want to proceed, either with a lawsuit or negotiations with the other side.