Are you looking to hire a Louisiana maritime accident lawyer? Before you call the number on the first billboard you see, you need to know a few things.
Many lawyers advertise that they work on maritime accident cases, but some do not have much experience in this field of law.
So how do you weed out the lawyers that claim they work on maritime accident cases? Easy. An experienced maritime accident lawyer should know the information below.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act is a federal law, which provides, among other things, rights of crew members. The Jones Act protects the rights of anyone injured while working on a ship, barge, diving vessel, chemical ship, cargo vessel, towboat, tugboat, fishing vessel, offshore supply vessel, cruise ship, yacht, and oil rig.
The Jones Act does not just apply to seamen working on the coast, the Outer Continental Shelf, or international waters. The Jones Act also affords protection to inland river workers (e.g. the inland waters in Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, etc.).
What Sort of Injuries are Covered Under the Jones Act?
Inland river workers and seamen work in dangerous conditions. Inland river workers and seaman are routinely exposed to conditions that can lead to significant injuries. Here are a few examples of common reasons maritime workers are injured on the job:
- Slip and falls due to slippery catwalks or wet surfaces
- Slip and falls due to unsecured ladders or railing
- Equipment malfunction
- Injuries due to being struck by cables, hoists, winches, personnel baskets
- Injuries due to being struck by falling objects
- Inadequate training
- Inadequate crewing of a vessel
- Explosions, fires, rupturing of tanks, poorly maintained equipment
What Types of Injuries Are Common?
Each situation where a person is injured is somewhat unique, but there are common injuries in the maritime industry that seaman and inland river workers experience:
- Loss of fingers
- Loss of limbs
- Disc herniations
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spine injuries
I’ve Worked for the Maritime Company for a Long Time—They’ll Take Care of Me, Right?
Some employers avoid taking care of injured maritime workers. The Jones Act provides injured seaman with a right to receive maintenance and cure from their employers and/or the owner of a vessel. Some employers will avoid their responsibility to provide an injured seaman with maintenance and cure.
Some employers delay maintenance payments or try to pay a lower rate.
Employers might also try to restrict cure. Some employers try to push injured seamen to get care from the company doctor rather than letting them choose their own doctor. Eventually, if you require significant medical treatment, some companies try to terminate your cure by claiming you are as healthy as medicine can make you.
Injured seamen get to choose their own doctor. Do not let yourself be bullied into seeing a doctor you did not choose or returning to work when you are still hurt.
Does Morrow & Sheppard LLP Have Experience Handling Maritime Accident Cases?
Given the serious nature of the different kinds of injuries involved in a Jones Act claim, coupled with the inevitable lifelong financial impact, these determinations should be handled by an offshore law firm that has experience and results.