If you have been injured offshore as a result of your work, you can trust the employer to do the right thing or, more likely, the insurance company, but most of the time, that’s not wise. There are significant pitfalls in the process of deciding what your benefits are, depending on where you are on the water or even off the water in terms of your employment status. For instance, if a person is working on a particular vessel as a crew member, then that individual would be declared to be a Jones Act seaman. The maritime law is applied in the United States and other jurisdictions, but here, it provides protections to a seaman. However, just because you’re on a boat doesn’t necessarily make you a seaman, so the question is, were you a member of the crew of that vessel? Suppose you were, for instance, being transported on a vessel to go on a platform for your employer because your employer has a contract to service the platform, and you’re being transported on the vessel. In that case, you’re not necessarily a Jones Act Seaman.
More likely, you can be a longshore harbor — it could be covered under Long Shore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act by extension. So, it takes long Shoremen off of the docks and extends it out into waters to provide what becomes federal workers’ compensation protection for those injured in a maritime setting who are not necessarily seamen.
The other area where you may not be a seaman, but you can file a general maritime law claim would involve vessel negligence. It can also involve unseaworthiness on the vessel’s port but similar to the types of claims that a Jones Act seaman would have, but you’re not technically a seaman. Many times, under the Long Shore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, what we call a 905B claim or 905A claim, you’d file a lawsuit against a vessel owner for the vessel negligence even though you are covered under Long Shore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act for your employer’s obligation to provide what ends up being federal workers compensation benefits.
How Can Maritime Law Impact A Work Injury Claim?
Maritime law can significantly impact a work injury claim regarding subrogation rights in terms of benefits. Generally, historically, people working offshore are higher wage earners in Louisiana, Texas, and anywhere on the gulf. So, if you’re a typical laborer on land, the statutory maximum for workers’ compensation benefits, weekly benefits are significantly lower than under a federal claim like the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.
In Louisiana right now, it’s around $705 a week, that’s the maximum you can get in state compensation benefits, and under Long Shore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, it’s approximately double that in the range of above $1,500, in fact, more like $1,600 per week. In terms of medical benefits, they’re similar. The employer or the employer’s longshore carrier would have an obligation to pay those benefits. It looks and acts a little bit like a state comp claim, but the benefits are significantly higher. Many Louisiana lawyers don’t do Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act work because they can’t automatically take a percentage of a person’s indemnity benefits. That has to be approved, and there are specific requirements that have to be met before a lawyer can be paid a fee in a Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation case.
So, many lawyers choose not to practice in that area. But, still, it’s critical to be able to understand that area of the law to be able to coordinate the benefits that an individual may have coming to them in terms of all of the areas of the law, whether it be general maritime law, Jones Act law, Longshore Harbor Workers Compensation Act or State Comp Act or Death on the High Seas Act.
How Can A Louisiana Maritime Injury Lawyer Help Me If I’ve Suffered A Maritime Injury?
A Louisiana Maritime Injury Lawyer is the only one who can help you. Again, there’s no way an individual would understand what types of potential claims exist. The facts drive the particular case, so a Louisiana maritime injury attorney who has navigated those areas of the law would be your only remedy in a case where we’re dealing with significant injuries. If you have a case where it’s a sprained toe or something like that, generally, I tell people to seek care but not jeopardize a good job.
Many times, lawyers don’t tell people that. Instead, they’ll sign them up and destroy a good employment relationship that has existed for minimal injuries. I don’t do that. Instead, I consider the injured person’s family and understand that the long-term goal is there unless significant injuries are present. You can help people navigate through that without having to file a formal claim.
For more information on Marine Vessel Or Offshore Injuries In Louisiana, an initial consultation is your best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (337) 289-0626 today.
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