Lafayette Jones Act Attorneys

When a work-related injury happens offshore, it takes special expertise to make sure the injured worker gets the necessary compensation. The offshore accident lawyers at Broussard & Hart, LLC have a keen understanding of what is at stake. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your accident and learn about your legal rights under the Jones Act.

Working Offshore is Different
Offshore work has a well-deserved reputation for being difficult and dangerous. From 2003 to 2013, the annual occupational fatality rate dropped 36.3 percent for all groups. During this same 11-year period, the oil and gas extraction industry saw 1,189 deaths – an increase of 27.6 percent.

Accident victims employed in offshore drilling or other maritime professions have legal rights if they are injured on the job. This is true even if the worker understood the risks of the job. Federal laws exist to provide compensation in the event of a work-related injury on the water.

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Maritime Workers Have Legal Rights

Injuries suffered as the result of maritime work-related accidents are covered by the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Jones Act. These are federal laws that, along with the Death on the High Seas Act, protect the rights of injured workers and their families. Workers of all nationalities are covered.

The Jones Act exists to give victims compensation when a seaman is injured or killed in an accident that is caused by negligence on the part of their employer or coworkers. The term “seaman” doesn’t just include captains, crew members and officers on board a ship. It also covers those maritime workers who perform the other duties that are necessary for the vessel’s work. They may be cooks, fish processors, housekeeping staff and even tour guides who work on a charter vessel. Day workers, who return to land after their shift ends, are also covered by the Jones Act. The Act does not discriminate according to rank or status. All workers have the same protection.

Workers who are injured while they are not on the vessel may also fall under the Jones Act. If the accident happened “subject to duty” or in the course of the employer’s work, there might be a cause for legal action.

The Special Hazards of Offshore Work

Offshore workers face hazards that often don’t exist in land-based workplaces. Injuries may be caused by falling, being struck by machinery, explosions or exposure to dangerous chemicals. Offshore accidents can be the result of the employer’s failure to provide a safe workplace. Perhaps safety statutes have been ignored, or a vessel is unseaworthy. In some cases, the ultimate cause of an accident may be negligence on the part of a coworker. If an injury occurs and adequate medical care is not provided, the situation may become even worse.

Offshore work is very physical. An injury can end a career, reducing a worker’s lifetime income. The nature of maritime injuries often leads to significant medical bills and long-term health issues.

In this situation, the law gives workers a way to be compensated for the changes their injury has made in their lives. If you were injured, you may be able to recover past and future lost wages, have medical expenses covered and be compensated for both physical and emotional pain and suffering. When an injury limits the type of job a worker can do, the Jones Act entitles seamen to compensation for lost earning capacity. You may be able to recover the cost of training for a new career.

Claims that result from offshore accidents are made under certain legal theories. This can include Jones Act negligence, breach of contract, unseaworthiness and more. For a case to be successful, elements specific to each theory must be proved. If even one element is not proven, the claim may be dismissed. The complexity of maritime claims requires special expertise. The offshore accident lawyers in Lafayette at Broussard & Hart, LLC has that expertise.

What to Do After a Maritime/Offshore Accident

If you are involved in a maritime accident, first take steps to help any injured persons. Once the situation has stabilized, follow these steps to ensure the accident is reported correctly and to protect your rights if you have been injured.

  • Contact the authorities. The first step is to call 911 or the emergency number of the local Sheriff’s office. The local authorities will be able to help get medical care for anyone who is injured. They will also begin the process of finding out what happened. When an accident occurs on a commercial vessel in U.S. navigable waters, it must also be reported to Federal authorities. Contact the nearest USCG, Marine Inspection Office or Coast Guard Group Office immediately. You will need to send a written report to the USCG within five days using Form CG-2692. Oil or chemical spills need to be reported to the National Response Center at 800-424-8802. It is important to do this right away.
  • Comply with post-accident drug and alcohol testing, as well as any other applicable regulations.
  • Get medical attention. If there is any chance you have been injured, get a complete medical evaluation as soon as you can. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, aren’t obvious right away. It can take hours or even days for symptoms to appear. A doctor can often catch the early signs of trouble, which improves your chances for recovery. An immediate evaluation will also establish a connection between the accident and any harm you may have suffered. This could be important in the event of a lawsuit later on.
  • Preserve the scene. Don’t disturb anything at the site of the accident unless necessary. This helps the authorities investigate what happened.
  • Document the scene by taking pictures with your camera, cell phone or tablet, if you can. Include the site of the accident and any vessels that were involved. Get contact information for everyone involved, as well as any witnesses.
  • Write down what happened while your memory is fresh. Submit this report to the captain, and keep a copy for yourself. A detailed record of the accident can be helpful during the investigation or legal action.
  • Do not discuss the accident. Don’t talk to an insurance adjuster or to anyone other than the authorities without consulting an attorney. The USCG will typically allow you to have an attorney present when you speak to them. Comments made after an accident may be taken out of context or used against you in the event of a lawsuit. Your attorney can help protect your interests.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an offshore accident, call the Lafayette Jones Act Attorneys at Broussard & Hart, LLC. We have over 30 years of combined experience and a history of helping clients recover more than $100 million in compensation. Call today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how our knowledgeable attorneys can help you.

We Also Help Victims of Offshore Accidents in these Areas of Louisiana
Alexandria | Baton RougeLake CharlesNew Orleans | Shreveport

Contact Us at 337-439-2450 or fill out the form below.