Lafayette Attorneys Skilled in Maritime Law Matters Offshore accidents are commonplace among people who make their living at sea or in coastal waters, such as the Gulf of Mexico. Working on a cargo ship, barge, jack-up rig, oil platform, ferry, cruise ship, or other vessel is often dangerous by its very nature. Negligence by offshore employers and vessel owners may further increase the chances of a serious injury or a fatal accident. If you or a loved one has sustained an offshore injury, the maritime law attorneys at Broussard & David can help. We have considerable experience in helping injured offshore workers pursue maximum compensation from those responsible for accidents resulting from equipment failures, fires, explosions, falls, exposure to hazardous materials, and other events at sea. Our Lafayette offshore injury lawyers are ready to assist your family and you in seeking justice.
Claims arising from offshore accidents may be complex and challenging, due to the maritime and admiralty laws that apply to these cases, such as the Jones Act (sometimes known as the Merchant Marine Act), the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and other applicable laws. In some cases, other federal and state laws, including the basic negligence law of the State of Louisiana, may also apply.
Pursue a Claim for Maximum Compensation Following an Offshore Injury The Jones Act, which is a federal law, allows seamen to pursue compensation if they are injured due to the negligence of an employer, an unseaworthy vessel, or a combination thereof. In Jones Act cases arising from an employer’s alleged act of negligence, the plaintiff must be able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the employer owed the employee a duty of care, that the employer breached the duty, that the employee suffered damages, and that the employer’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s offshore injury. If successful, the plaintiff may be able to receive payment for past and future medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages.
By contrast, an offshore injury case pursued under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act does not necessarily require that the injured worker prove that their employer was negligent or otherwise at fault for the accident. However, as is the case in most workers’ compensation cases, the employee is only entitled to limited compensation, typically in the form of temporary total disability payments, medical expenses, and, in cases involving a permanent injury, compensation for permanent partial disability or permanent total disability. Workers’ compensation claims do not allow an injured worker to recover compensation for pain and suffering, nor is the worker’s spouse entitled to file a claim for loss of consortium.
As in other types of personal injury cases, there is a limited time for filing a claim for compensation following an offshore injury. In addition to the statute of limitations, there may also be a requirement that the injured worker gives their employer notice of the accident within a certain time frame. It is important that a person who has suffered an offshore injury consult an attorney to determine the exact time limits applicable under the facts of their case. A failure to promptly file a claim or a failure to give notice in a timely fashion may result in the dismissal of an otherwise valid offshore injury claim. A delay in consulting counsel may also result in spoliation of evidence, since the responsible party or their insurance company may not preserve evidence favorable to the injured person.
Seek Guidance in an Offshore Injury Case from a Lafayette Lawyer The capable Lafayette offshore injury attorneys at the law firm of Broussard & David handle many maritime law cases for people in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, New Iberia, Eunice, and the surrounding areas of Lafayette, East Baton Rouge, Orleans, Calcasieu, Iberia, St. Landry, and Rapides Parishes. Call us at 888-337-2323 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an injury attorney. Most cases are handled on a contingency fee arrangement in which no legal fees are owed unless your case is successfully concluded.