New Orleans Maritime Accident Lawyers
New Orleans is known for its water. With Lake Pontchartrain on one side, Lake Borgne on the other and the Mississippi River right behind, New Orleans residents have loads of options for having fun and working on the water. People love to swim and boat around New Orleans, and water skiing, flyboarding and tubing are all popular area pastimes. The nearby Gulf of Mexico provides jobs for seamen and those on dry land handling cargo and working on ships.
However, recreational and business pursuits on the water come with risks. Maritime and boating accidents happen throughout New Orleans, and when they do, you need an experienced maritime law firm to represent you.
Maritime Accident Injuries in New Orleans
Maritime accidents in the area consist of two main types: those suffered by recreation seekers and maritime workers.
1. Recreation Seekers
Recreation can include anything happening on the water. The most common forms of accidents occur while boating or on a cruise ship. Boating accidents range from operator error to speeding to distracted boating. Other accident causes include:
- Operator in training
- Drunk or drugged boating
- Violation of boat safety laws
Because of its location on the Mississippi River, cruise ships also depart and embark in the city. While vacations are generally an enjoyable time, unexpected events and accidents can befall guests on a cruise ship, and they may find themselves frustrated by how they impact vacation. Just a few examples of cruise ship mishaps include:
- Foodborne illness that results in widespread outbreaks
- Sanitation or poor food or water quality, leading to gastrointestinal distress
- Inadequate on-board security, leading to thefts, assaults or other kinds of crime
- Sloppy on-board cleaning resulting in slippery floors that can cause trip-and-fall incidents
- Lack of signage, leading passengers to be unaware of potential hazards in their way
- Improper maintenance of the ship, prompting breakdowns or malfunctioning of equipment
These things won’t just ruin your vacation — they can also lead to serious issues you will have to deal with long after you return from your trip.
2. Maritime Workers
In addition to recreational maritime accident injuries, you can also sustain injuries if you are a maritime worker. These seamen may be employed on a range of different vessels, including:
- Commercial fishing and diving boats
- Cargo ships
- Offshore oil rigs
Maritime Accident Laws for Workers
The Jones Act governs maritime accidents involving seamen — it was passed in 1920 and protects the interests of sailors. Seamen are not eligible for workers’ compensation. Instead, they receive compensation according to Jones Act provisions.
Unlike workers’ compensation, which is a no-fault system, the Jones Act requires proof of negligence by an employer that led to the injury. Cases that might require a New Orleans maritime accident attorney include accidents caused by:
- The use of power tools
- Living and working in small spaces
- Terrible weather
- Social isolation
What can you recover under the Jones Act? It provides for compensation for:
- Lost Wages: Unlike with workers’ compensation, those covered under the Jones Act are entitled to their full wages while they are out of work.
- Medical Bills: Hospital, doctor, occupational and physical therapy and more are covered under the Jones Act.
- Diminished Earning Capacity: If your injury forces you into a job that pays lower wages than the one you performed before the accident, you could recover some of the monetary difference.
- Disability and Diminished Quality of Life: You may be forced to stop working altogether, which could impact the quality of your life.
- Pain and Suffering: The physical and mental anguish you feel from your injury can demand a reward.
Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act
While seamen receive coverage from the Jones Act, they are not the only ones who work on the water. Dock workers, ship repairers, shipbuilders and others who work with vessels but do not actually go out to sea themselves are covered by the Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).
This act does not include anyone who crews or leads a vessel, but it provides many of the same protections as the Jones Act for those engaged in maritime employment, such as:
- Medical Costs: Treatment for your injury might include an emergency room visit, doctor’s appointments and other medical expenses.
- Disability: You may sustain an injury so severe that you cannot return to your old job and need to receive disability benefits either permanently or temporarily.
- Rehabilitation: Many injuries require rehab, such as back injuries, which you can receive reimbursement for.
- Wrongful Death: If a member of your family is killed while on the job, you may be able to sue for wrongful death benefits.
The Act does include a few exceptions. U.S. government employees are not eligible for compensation under the LHWCA, nor are those whose injuries stemmed from intoxication on the job. You also will not be covered if you willfully acted in a manner meant to harm yourself or others. A New Orleans maritime accident lawyer cannot assist you with LHWCA cases if you fall into any of those categories.
Contact Our New Orleans Maritime Injury Attorneys Today
Accidents are unpredictable and bring with them long-lasting consequences. If you sustain a maritime accident injury, you need an attorney who knows the law and has extensive experience with this type of case. Speak with the lawyers at Irpino, Avin & Hawkins Law Firm. We have assisted many clients involved in maritime accidents, and our attorneys in New Orleans have a thorough understanding of this area of law. They have represented people just like you who were injured on the job or during a recreational activity.
When you get hurt, you may worry about how you can support your family and whether or not you will be able to return to work. Our maritime injury lawyers will offer you the support and guidance you need during this difficult time. Let us assist you with your case. To speak with an attorney today, you can reach us by calling 1-800-7500-LAW or filling out our online contact form.