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    St. Tammany Parish Deckhand Injury Lawyer

    Serving as a deckhand is arduous, dangerous work. Deckhands and other seaman work long hours under extremely difficult and unpredictable conditions, often leading to severe accidents. Worker’s Compensation does not cover deckhands in most cases, potentially leaving an injured seaman wondering how to pay for medical treatment and make up lost wages.

    However, injured deckhands may seek compensation through the Jones Act if they sustained injuries in a work-related accident. However, the laws are complicated  and it can be challenging to figure out the best way to proceed. An experienced maritime lawyer is an invaluable ally when seeking compensation for injuries sustained at sea.

    The Jones Act Protects Seaman

    The Jones Act is a federal law enacted in the early 20th century that offers professional mariners a method of seeking compensation for work-related injuries. The Jones Act applies to workers who spend at least 30 percent of their working time on vessels in navigation. This means that offshore oil rig workers do not qualify as seamen under the Jones Act, because oil rigs are fixed and not in navigation.

    Under the act, employers and vessel owners must provide injured deckhands maintenance and cure. This means that the injured deckhand should receive money to provide for their daily living expenses (maintenance) and their costs related to treating the injury (cure). The amount of the maintenance payment is often laid out in a union contract.

    Employers and vessel owners must pay medical benefits until the deckhand’s injury reaches a point where it will not improve significantly moving forward. Note that this is very different than the point of cure. An owner or employee may try to cease paying for medical care at a point where the injury is not healed enough for the deckhand to return to their job safely, but a committed local maritime lawyer could work to support a deckhand’s recovery for the full length of time healing the injury requires.

    Negligence Claims

    The Jones Act provides deckhands an opportunity to bring a lawsuit against a vessel owner or employer if negligence contributed to the accident that caused the injury. The deckhand could bring a negligence claim even if they have received maintenance and cure from the employer or vessel owner.

    A deckhand bringing a Jones Act negligence claim does not have to show that the employer or vessel owner knew about the alleged hazardous condition. Furthermore, it is not necessary that the dangerous condition be the primary cause of the injury, only that it contributed to the accident.

    Unlike other worker’s compensation laws, the Jones Act gives an injured seaman the right to a jury trial. This is a huge benefit because juries often are sympathetic to injured deckhands. A skilled maritime injury attorney could make a presentation to the jury that might lead to a significant award.

    Get Help from an Experienced Maritime Lawyer

    Representing a deckhand in a work-related accident case is distinct from representing an injured person in a standard negligence case. The rights and benefits that the law provides seamen are different from those of people who do not work at sea. It is important that your lawyer understands not only the law but also working conditions at sea and the needs of professional mariners. Call today to get a knowledgeable deckhand injury attorney working for you.