Offshore Injury Attorney in New Orleans
Accidents and injuries that happen in the open water are typically quite serious and extremely burdensome: physically, emotionally, and financially. Offshore accidents and maritime injuries often prove fatal, occurring miles away from adequate emergency response. If you or a loved one has been injured in an offshore accident or maritime accident, seek medical treatment then contact the New Orleans maritime lawyers at Unglesby Williams.
Depending on how or where you were injured, different laws may apply to your claim. Laws like the Jones Act, the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, and the Federal Employers Liability Act may provide financial support and legal options.
Benefits and compensation for offshore injuries or maritime injuries can be quite complicated. Maritime workers and offshore workers fall into two categories:
- A “seamen” employed by a United States vessel and supporting its operation
- Workers on navigable waters, adjacent facilities, docks, piers, or warehouse
A member of the first group is entitled to compensation under the federal “Jones Act,” while a member of the second group is compensated under the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (USL&H). Injured workers not classified in either category may still be eligible for compensation under the appropriate state worker’s compensation laws.
What is the Jones Act and How Can It Help Me?
While employment laws have been in place for decades, the Jones Act redefined maritime law to protect the safety of employees around the country. Prior to the Jones Act, there was very little recourse for those injured at sea, leading to countless injuries and wrongful deaths with no hope for justice.
Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, this law was passed to allow qualified sailors to receive proper compensation for his or her injury. Under the Jones Act, seafaring employees who spend at least 30% of their time on the water are typically permitted to file claims in cases of injury and negligence. However, any claims not filed within three years of injury will not be considered under the Jones Act. For claims involving the United States government, the statute of limitations may be lowered to two years.
Compensation for an Injured Seaman Under The Jones Act
Seamen seeking compensation under the Jones Act must prove negligence on the part of the seaman’s employer and its agents, including officers and other seamen, or that the vessel on or in connection with which the injury occurred was unseaworthy. This is unlike USL&H and state worker’s compensation laws, which provide for compensation without requiring that negligence or other fault be proved. The Jones Act damage recovery may be reduced if the seaman is shown to have been partly to blame for the accident, also unlike USL&H and state workers’ compensation.
What is Unseaworthiness?
As the name implies, unseaworthiness is when a vessel is not deemed adequately prepared for use on the water. A vessel’s owner has an absolute obligation to provide a seaworthy vessel that meets all structural and safety requirements, is reasonably fit for its intended purpose, and has the right safety and security gear on board. When these criteria aren’t met, a vessel is not seaworthy and can pose serious threats to workers on board. Owners with unseaworthy vessels who continue to operate without addressing the problems can be held liable for boat injuries and offshore accidents that occur as a result of negligent practices.
Even without proving negligence or unseaworthiness, the seaman is entitled to compensation during the period of recovery, in the form of:
- Maintenance-payment of living expenses during the period of recovery
- Cure-payment of medical and related costs of recovery
To the extent the victim can prove negligence or unseaworthiness, the injured seaman can recover damages under the Jones Act for loss of earning capacity due to permanent partial or full disability, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and even punitive damages under some circumstances. Again, the compensation may be reduced to the extent the seaman’s own negligence was to blame for the accident.
The U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (USL&H)
A federal workers’ compensation program that provides benefits and care to qualified longshoremen and harbor workers injured while on the job, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act can provide coverage for medical care, disability, and funeral expenses. USL&H provides protection for employees in many different industries related to maritime endeavors, including those who work on docks and in harbors, those who build, assemble, load, and unload watercraft, and general maritime construction professionals.
Benefits for qualifying workers are generous, offering the following forms of assistance:
- Medical Care, Treatment, and Supplies at the Doctor of Your Choice
- Qualifying Disability Compensation
- Death Benefits for Funeral Expenses
- Spousal Assistance Equal to 50% of the Employee’s Weekly Wages
- Sole Surviving Children without Siblings Receive 50% of Weekly Wages
- Sole Surviving Children with Siblings receive 66.66% of Weekly Wages
Our maritime accident lawyers have experience representing a variety of individuals who have been injured in workplace accidents, including:
- Cargo Ship Hands & Supply Vessel Workers
- Construction Barge Workers
- Drill Ship Workers
- Harbor workers & Dock Workers
- Oil Rig Workers & Offshore Oil Rig Accidents
- Tanker Workers
- Towboat Workers, Riverboat Workers & Tug Boat Workers
- Inland & Offshore Barge Workers
- Private Vessel & Boating Accidents
The New Orleans maritime injury lawyers at Unglesby Williams are committed to fighting for you and your family’s rights. We are committed to not only providing you with excellent legal representation, but also to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
Regardless of occupation, workers in the United States are entitled to a safe place to work. This includes sailors and seamen, even with the dangerous conditions surrounding maritime employment. If you have been injured while working offshore or on a boat, let us fight to secure you with compensation for hospital bills, lost work, and disability.
Injured? We Take it Personally
At Unglesby Williams, we understand the physical and emotional pain that a maritime accident or offshore injury can have on you and your family. Having years of experience in representing people injured on the high seas gives us the leverage and skills to fight for the compensation that you deserve. During the legal process after your injury, we treat each of our clients as an individual: respect, compassion, and empathy. Although we have successfully achieved millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients, we remain committed to focusing on you and your unique situation. If you’ve been injured, we take it personally.
If you or a loved one has been injured offshore or involved in a maritime accident in New Orleans, contact Jason Williams and the maritime injury lawyers of Unglesby Williams. We’ll be your strongest advocates and fight hard to get you the maximum compensation when you are the most vulnerable. Let us sort out the facts and details of the case and protect your rights, while you focus on your recovery. Remember, Huge Verdicts are No Accident.