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Lafourche Parish Seaman Injury Lawyer

Seaman injuries occur all too often in the maritime industry. If you or a loved one work as a seaman and suffered a work-related injury or accident, contact an experienced Lafourche Parish seaman injury lawyer immediately. A skilled maritime injury attorney could help you pursue the compensation you need following an injury.

There are numerous types of injuries a commercial seaman might suffer, some minor and others severe and life-altering. Maritime workers who are injured while working in a maritime or admiralty-based industry may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income and wages, vocational rehabilitation training, and more under the Jones Act or the General Maritime Law.

What is The Jones Act?

The Jones Act, also referred to as the Merchant Marine Act, compensates certain sailors in Lafourche Parish for illnesses or injuries that occurred while they were at work. These maritime workers, who are known as seamen, are assigned to a vessel or fleet of vessels and contribute to the mission of the vessel or fleet of vessels.

It is important to remember that ship owners have a duty to provide the safest environment possible to anyone who works aboard their vessels. When they breach that duty, they can be held accountable for their actions—or for failing to act reasonably.

Unseaworthy Vessel Claims

Also known as vessel negligence claims, unseaworthy vessel claims allow certain seaman to seek compensation for injuries suffered because a vessel was not seaworthy—or in other words, was dangerous and caused injury.

Maintenance and Cure Claims

Any Maritime Worker injured while in the service of the vessel, or qualifies as a seaman while assigned to a vessel or fleet of vessels, is entitled to have all medical treatment for his injuries paid for by his employer. If they choose, a maritime worker is entitled to select the doctor they receive treatment from themselves, instead of being forced to accept care from a company doctor. The injured seaman maritime worker should continue to receive this medical treatment—known as Cure—at the employer’s cost until he reaches maximum medical improvement.

The employer is also required to provide the rough equivalent of room and board—referred to as Maintenance—for as long as the seaman cannot return to work. If the employer refuses to begin payment of maintenance following notice or cover appropriate treatment, a Lafourche Parish maritime lawyer could force the employer to begin payment and seek damages for the unfair refusal. These damages can include attorney fees and in some cases punitive damages.

Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides maritime workers in Lafourche Parish who are not assigned to a vessel or fleet of vessels with medical coverage, compensation, and vocational rehabilitation services as against their employer when they suffer injury

Some of the most common seaman injuries involve repetitive strain injuries to the back, shoulder, elbow, neck, and wrists, as well as tendinitis. Other common injuries include machinery malfunction and entanglement issues, falls overboard and drowning, hypothermia, and vessel accidents.

Role of Independent and Large Scale Industrial Fishing Operations

Seamen may experience different injuries based on the type or size of the ships on which they work. Fishing workers working with smaller, more independent fishing companies are more likely to experience the repetitive strain injuries than workers working on huge commercial vessels, which may be more mechanized. In turn, large commercial fishing or shipping workers may be more likely to experience injuries from machinery and equipment malfunction.

Steps Commercial Ship Employers Can Take to Reduce Seaman Injuries

While disabling injuries are common for seamen, commercial fishing and shipping employers can and should take steps to reduce injuries, and when they are negligent, they may be liable for their workers’ injuries.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Hazards developed guidelines for commercial fishing and shipping employers to help reduce the instances of injuries for seamen. Some of the agency’s recommendations for maintaining safe commercial fishing and shipping operations include but are not limited to:

  • Having workers take commercial fishing safety training courses at least once every five years
  • Conducting monthly safety drills for falls overboard, fires, floods, and vessel disasters
  • Encouraging all workers to wear a life vest
  • Developing a system for watching the weather conditions and taking safety precautions when weather conditions are bad
  • Installing a ship alarm system and retrieval equipment necessary in case a worker falls overboard
  • Testing safety equipment regularly
  • Including safety immersion suits and floatation devices
  • Installing emergency stop technology on hydraulic machinery on deck to prevent machinery entanglement injury and fatalities to seamen

Consulting a Lafourche Parish Seaman Injury Attorney

No matter the severity of your commercial fishing injury, you may need an experienced Lafourche Parish seaman injury lawyer by your side to throughout the legal process as you seek the compensation deserve because of your injuries.

You may be able to receive reimbursement for damages stemming from your injury or accident at sea, including medical bills, surgery, medication costs, physical therapy, lost wages, loss of future wages after a disability, and other damages. A Lafourche Parish seaman injury lawyer could look at the details of your case and tell you what damages you may be able to seek.