The maritime industry in Louisiana injects more than 11.3 billion into the state’s economy every year. While extremely lucrative, it’s a dangerous profession to partake in. Maritime workers often experience injury — even death, due to poor maintenance of vessels, lack of proper safety measures, hazardous chemicals, and other harmful conditions.
Laws that Protect Maritime Employees
Maritime workers have certain protections under federal law, including the ability to pursue compensation for an injury sustained in the workplace.
Coverage for Seamen Under the Jones Act
The Jones Act offers legal recourse for seamen who were injured due to the negligence of an employer or co-worker, or the unseaworthiness of their vessel. Seamen are generally defined as employees who work on a vessel at least 30 percent of the time. These vessels may include ships, oil rigs, barges, jack-ups, semisubmersibles, floaters, lift-boats, supply boats, crew boats, tankers or tugs.
Damages that may be recovered under the Jones Act include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and maintenance and cure benefits.
Coverage for Maritime Employees Under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act
The LHWCA is a workers’ compensation program for maritime workers injured on navigable waters or offshore. This usually applies to those who work on docks, piers, wharves, terminals, harbors, dry dock facilities, and other facilities adjoining water used for loading and unloading, repairing and building vessels. These workers may be longshoremen, welders, construction welders, forklift operators, warehousemen, stevedores, etc.
In contrast to the Jones Act, a worker does not have to prove that his employer was at-fault in order to receive benefits. However, benefits are limited to medical care reimbursement and 66 ⅔ percent of the worker’s average weekly wages.
Get Help With Your Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are a maritime worker that has been injured in Louisiana, you may be entitled to receive benefits under the Jones Act or Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Wanko Law Firm offers a free consultation to discuss your maritime case. Call us at (985) 893-6530.