J. Price McNamara Discusses Six Things You Need To Know About Maritime Lawsuits
In the state of Louisiana, the victims in maritime lawsuits are eligible for several types of damages. Compensation can be recovered for lost wages, medical bills, pain, and suffering. If a worker suffers an injury because of negligence, they could be able to collect additional damages.
1) Who Can Recover Under The Jones Act?
It is important to note that maritime lawsuits are an option for offshore workers who have been injured due to the negligence of an employer or ship owner or when a particular vessel is unseaworthy. Additionally, maritime law allows workers to collect medical care benefits and living expenses covered up to a point of maximum medical improvement. However, these benefits are limited and do not last forever. Under the Jones Act, victims can seek compensation for future medical treatment, as well as other damages they’ve incurred because of their injuries.
2) What Types Of Damages Are Possible In A Maritime Lawsuit?
Jones Act maritime lawsuits may provide injured workers with compensation for a wide variety of damages. Under the current regulations, injured maritime worker may seek compensation for the following:
• “Pain, suffering and mental anguish endured;
• Future income loss expected because of the injury;
• Medical bills and lost wages not covered by maintenance and cure benefits;
• Lost earning capacity if the injury has made the victim unable to continue working;
• Costs of retraining should the injury require the victim to need further training to return to work;
• Loss of household services including child care, cleaning, cooking and other tasks that may be affected by the injury;
• Loss of quality of life if the injury has caused a decrease in the quality of the victim’s life;
• Future medical costs, including funds needed for expected treatments, medications, prosthetics, surgeries and rehabilitation; and
• Disfigurement if the injury has left the victim permanently disfigured or scarred.”
3) What Exactly Is The Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a maritime act that controls coastwise trade within the United States, determines which ships can lawfully engage in trade in U.S. waters, and the rules under which vessels must operate. The act also provides rules and regulations for what happens if a worker is injured aboard one of these vessels.
4) How Can You Qualify For Recovery Under The Jones Act?
Not every worker on or near the water meet the specific criteria to recover under the Jones Act. The law applies to “seamen,” but does not provide a clear definition of the term. Federal courts interpret the term seaman to mean any individual who is assigned to work on a vessel or fleet that operates in navigable waters. The person must perform work that is related to the vessel’s main purpose. As long as the work the person performs furthers the mission of the vessel, the individual’s particular job description is unimportant.
5) What Portion Of Your Work Time Must Be Spent On A Vessel?
Seaman status under the terms of the Jones Act also requires that an employee spend a specific portion of their work hours upon the vessel. Some federal courts have determined that employees must spend approximately 30% of their time onboard a vessel to qualify for recovery under the Jones Act. The 30% figure is often used as a rule of thumb, but it is not a hard and fast rule. If you would like to get a better idea of your ability to recover under the Jones Act, it is best to seek out the assistance of a maritime attorney.
6) How You Can Get Help From A Louisiana Maritime Lawyer
If you’re a maritime worker who has been injured at work, you need to seek help from a qualified and experienced attorney right away. You may have heard about high-profile cases like the BP oil spill. In that case, BP was required to create a fund to compensate victims. If you have been injured, you deserve compensation. We encourage you to consider filing a claim for your pain and suffering, as well as the expenses you and your family have incurred from your injury.
Let The Firm Of J. Price McNamara Help You With Your Maritime Case
J. Price McNamara has been practicing maritime law in Louisiana for many years and has handled many cases just like yours. Our firm has a wealth of knowledge and tons of experience. This means that we are ready and waiting to provide the legal representation that you need to recover the damages you deserve for your case. Call us now to schedule your free case review and get an experienced legal team on your side today.
6 Common Questions About Maritime Injury Cases
Hundreds of workers are injured each year while working on or around the water. When this happens, maritime law is often used to file a claim and recover damages from another party. Maritime law can be a complex and challenging area of law. Below are six common questions that you might have as an injured maritime worker and the answers you need to proceed with your maritime case.
Question: I was injured while working on or near the water. What can I do?
Answer: Your first step is to, contact J. Price McNamara who can help you pursue a lawsuit and recover damages. In most instances, if you were injured while working on or near the water then you may be entitled to file a claim under general maritime law, the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act, or the Death on the High Seas Act.
Question: I have been injured in a maritime accident where should I go for legal help with my case?
Answer: J. Price McNamara represents maritime workers , Jones Act seamen, longshoremen, deckhands, oil rig workers, barge workers and various other types of maritime workers on the Mississippi River and in the Gulf of Mexico. If you’ve been injured while working on an oil rig, floating crane barge, crew vessel, supply vessel, cargo ship, tanker, fishing vessel, drill ship, construction barge, towboat, tugboat, or other floating vessel or structure then please contact us today to find out how we can help you with your maritime case.
Question: If I bring a lawsuit against my employer, will I be blackballed from future maritime jobs?
Answer: Here at J. Price McNamara, we believe that there is no black list. Moreover, there are laws that are designed to prevent any past, present or future employer from revealing and information about injuries that you may have gotten at your maritime job. In fact, we have had several former clients who later returned to offshore work after settlements from their case and recovery from their injuries.
Question: What much money can I get for my maritime injury lawsuit?
Answer: There is no guarantee of monetary compensation in any maritime case. However, if you do receive compensation, the amount will depend on your situation, your injuries and several other factors. If your case is successful, you may receive compensation for disfigurement, physical disability, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, mental disability, property damage and/or loss of additional benefits.
Question: J. Price McNamara is located in Louisiana, but I was injured in another state. Can I still get help from your firm?
Answer: We’ve represented clients in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas as well as workers injured in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River. In addition, we have helped injured seamen across the United States by working with their local attorneys to ensure they have a skilled and experienced maritime injury legal team on their side.
Question: How do I get started?
Answer: Getting started is easy. You will need to contact our office and schedule your free case review. This will help us to hear about your case and determine how we can help you get the most compensation for your injuries. Call us now to get started.
Let J. Price McNamara Help You With Your Maritime Case
If you or someone you know has been injured during work on or near the water, you need a legal team that understands Maritime Law. The attorneys at J. Price McNamara may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve from your Maritime injuries. With many years of focus on maritime law and Jones Act cases, our attorneys J. Price McNamara has an impressive legal track record and enjoys a stellar reputation in the Baton Rouge legal community and beyond. A history of favorable verdicts and impressive settlements speaks to the skill and experience J. Price McNamara has with these types of cases. Call us today for your free case review and let us get started on helping you!
What Is Maritime Law?
Maritime law is an area of law which has been created from the cases decided by courts over a long period of time. And while many laws can be found in volumes of federal or state statutes created by congress, maritime law has developed based over the course of many years from fundamental principles governing the laws of the city. Accordingly, there is no “statute” which can explain maritime law details. Alternatively, individuals must look to these case holdings to obtain an appropriate and accurate understanding of maritime law.
What Types Of Injury Does Maritime Law Cover?
Maritime law applies to any injury which happens on navigable waterways. This includes the Gulf of Mexico as well as all rivers in the United States, lakes and any bodies of water where vessels are capable of navigating.
How Does Maritime Law Apply To Seamen?
Under the terms of Maritime Law, there is a special class of maritime workers known as Jones Act Seamen. In order to be considered a Jones Act Seamen, a worker must be permanently assigned to a vessel that is currently in navigation. This specifically means that the individual must spend 30 percent or more of his time aboard a vessel during his employment.
If workers are considered Jones Act Seamen, Maritime Law allows them to file two additional claims outside of the Jones Act statute limitations. Seamen can file a claim for maintenance and cure under general maritime law as the first part of their additional rights. This means that when a worker gets injured at work, he can ask for maintenance and cure benefits until he reaches maximum improvement from his injuries.
The second part of the additional rights afforded to Seaman is the ability of an injured Seasman to file a claim for the un‑seaworthiness of the vessel under maritime law. If any part of the vessel played a role in causing his injury, the seaman can seek additional damages under an un-seaworthiness claim to supplement the money they also received for their injuries.
Is There A Statute of Limitations In Maritime Law?
A statute of limitations is the time period in which an individual can file a claim in court to obtain compensation for their injuries. If the statute of limitations expires and a claim has not been filed, the individual will be barred from filing a claim. Maritime law has a three year statute of limitations to file any claims.
It is important for injured parties to note that with a maritime law claim there may be other rights or claims which can be pursued. However, you should be aware that these rights or claims may have a shorter statute of limitations. Louisiana in particular has a one‑year statute of limitations on state law claims. To the extent that you may have state law claims along with a maritime law claims, a one-year statute of limitations may apply to some of the claims. For this reason, it is important to speak with an attorney regarding any individual situation so that you do not miss the time you have to file your claim.
J. Price McNamara Can Help You With Your Maritime Case
If you are dealing with a Maritime law issue, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to deal with these types of cases. Maritime law can be complicated and most employment companies have teams of lawyers working for them. For this reason, you need an attorney with knowledge of Louisiana and Maritime law to help you get you the outcome you deserve for your case. J. Price McNamara has been practicing law in Louisiana for many years and has handled many Maritime cases. The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you with your Maritime Law case. Call us today to schedule your free case review and get an experienced attorney on your side.
Louisiana Lawsuit Sets Maritime Law Standard
JONES ACT IN METARIE, LA
Maritime Vs. Land-Based Compensation For Injuries While On The Job
Rules and laws for Maritime injuries are different from those typically used for personal injury cases on land. In negligence cases like car accidents, the person suing must prove that the defendant’s negligence was the primary cause of the injury to the plaintiff in order to receive damages for their injury. However, the Jones Act, a law intended to provide seamen with rights while working at sea, provides for a much lower burden of proof. Under the Jones Act, only a small part of involvement need be proven for the plaintiff to be entitled to damages. As such, if the employer’s negligence contributed to 1% or more of the accident, the plaintiff can recover damages. This concept is sometimes called “featherweight causation”.
McBride v. Estis Well Service LLC
The recent 5th circuit case of McBride v. Estis Well Service LLC, is a critical case because it sets a possible new standard with regard to recovery of punitive damages in maritime cases. Typically a personal injury lawsuit allows for the recovery of two main types of damages, those intended to compensate the victim for their injuries (compensatory) and those intended to deter the defendant from further activities of the same type that cause the injury (punitive).
The McBride case was filed after an accident occurred aboard a barge operating in the navigable waters of Louisiana. While operating as usual, a truck-mounted drilling rig fell over causing the death of one crew member and the injury of three others. The injured parties filed a lawsuit against the owner of the drilling rig requesting both compensatory and punitive damages under the Jones Act and the general maritime law of unseaworthiness.
Initially, and upon plaintiff request, the district court dismissed all of the punitive damage claims. The case was appealed and the court held that punitive damages could be available to injured seamen. The 5th Circuit then granted review and began their analysis of both the Jones Act and the maritime law of unseaworthiness.
What Is The Jones Act?
Unfortunately, injured seamen are not afforded the same legal rights to worker’s compensation as land-based workers when they are injured on the job. For this reason, the Jones Act and general maritime law were created to allow workers legal rights to compensation for their injuries while on the job. Consequently, injured seamen can now recover damages for the negligence of either their employer or the owner of the vessel on which they are working if it is deemed unseaworthy.
The basic principles of the Jones Act hold that a maritime employer must provide workers on their vessel with a reasonably safe place to work. Further, the employer must “use ordinary care to under the circumstances to maintain and keep the vessel on which the seaman works in a reasonably safe condition.” The requirements under the Jones Act are very strict and dictate that an employer could be held liable for unsafe conditions like oil or grease on the deck, equipment that is not properly maintained, failing to provide a crew with proper equipment, failing to properly train a crew or failing to require a crew to follow methods to work safely.
Ultimately, the court in McBride v. Estis Well Service LLC, analyzed the case under the principles of both the Jones Act and the general maritime law of unseaworthiness, holding that punitive damages were not recoverable by an injured seaman. Legal theorists believe that this case will likely serve as an important persuasive authority in other maritime punitive damage claims around the country. As well, the McBride majority opinion will undoubtedly play a critical role in the future litigation of Jones Act/unseaworthiness cases around the country because of its comprehensive analysis from the Fifth Circuit.
Contact Our Team for A Free Case Review
Maritime injury cases can be filled with complicated laws that do not follow the same rules as land-based injuries. As such, it is important to have a team of attorneys that are qualified, experienced and familiar with both maritime and personal injury law. J. Price McNamara, is an attorney with tremendous knowledge of both maritime and personal injury law. With offices in Baton Rouge and Metairie, LA, the attorneys at J. Price McNamara are here to answer all of your questions and can even review your case for free. If you’ve been injured in a maritime accident and are seeking compensation for damages or injuries, contact J. Price McNamara today for a free case review and consultation at (225) 201-8311.
Worker Injured on Ship in Gulf of Mexico Sues Employer in New Orleans Federal Court
JONES ACT, MARITIME AND OFFSHORE INJURIES
A worker has filed suit against his employer over injuries he sustained on a ship while swinging from a platform rope. On January 20th, David Thomas filed a lawsuit in New Orleans federal court against Oceaneering International, Inc. According to Thomas, he injured his shoulder on October 27, 2011 while working as a crewmember aboard the DSV Ocean Project. Thomas claims he became injured swinging on a rope from a platform onto the ship while the DSV Ocean Project was engaged in performing commercial diving operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Thomas has accused his employer of negligence and alleged Oceaneering International failed to provide him with proper safety equipment, a safe working environment, and a properly manned ship. He requested a jury trial and is seeking compensation for maintenance and cure, lost wages and fringe benefits, medical expenses, lost earning capacity, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
Workers who are injured at sea usually have little recourse through state workers’ compensation laws. Instead, they are protected by the Jones Act, a federal law. The Jones Act was passed by Congress in 1920 to protect marine employees injured while working offshore on a floating vessel. The Act provides an injured employee with the right to sue his or her marine employer directly. For the law’s protections to apply, an offshore vessel must be mobile and the injured worker must fit the Act’s definition of a seaman. Traditionally, courts have classified a worker’s status broadly to include most staff on a ship or other vessel within the definition of “seaman.”
Generally, Jones Act claims are predicated on an act of negligence or allegations of a marine vessel’s lack of seaworthiness. The Jones Act provides an employee with the opportunity to seek maintenance and cure and recover for personal injuries. The Act does not allow for non-pecuniary awards, however. Determining a marine employee’s seaman status and the amount of compensation an injured seaman may receive under the Jones Act can be complicated. If you were injured while working at sea, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Jones Act attorney to help you determine your seaman status and protect your rights.
If you have questions regarding an injury you received while working offshore, our New Orleans maritime and offshore injury attorneys can help. J. Price McNamara will assist you in determining your employee status and seeking damages for your injuries. Our experienced Jones Act attorneys represent clients throughout Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Mandeville. For a free initial consultation, call J. Price McNamara today at (866) 248-0580. You may also contact us through our website.
Gulf of Mexico Crew-Boat Runs Aground Near Morgan City Injuring At least One Crew Member
JONES ACT, MARITIME AND OFFSHORE INJURIES
The M/V LADY BRANDY, a crew-boat owned by Iberia Marine Service, LLC, ran aground on the afternoon of January 9, 2012, on its way back to Morgan City from the Gulf of Mexico. At least one crewmember was injured. Other crewmembers and a number of passengers were on board. It has been reported that, at the time of the grounding, an unlicensed non-captain crewmember was at the wheel. Accordingly to at least one witness, passengers of the vessel were quite shaken by the event, while at least one crewmember sought immediate medical attention.
Passengers and crewmembers injured in an event such as this have claims against the vessel owner and its insurer. Their claims, however, are different in several respects.
The crewmembers have claims under a federal law commonly known as the Jones Act, which permits vessel crewmember- employees to file suit against their employer for negligence and unseaworthiness of the vessel. Seamen are owed a special duty of care from their employer under the Jones Act. A vessel can be found unseaworthy for a number of reasons, including an inadequate crew. Damages can include past and future mental and physical pain and suffering, past and future lost wages and earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, maintenance and cure and “found.”
Passengers are entitled to claim or file suit against the vessel owner for negligence under the general maritime law. Their claims are somewhat different than claims under the Jones Act, but they do include some common elements of recovery.
It is difficult to imagine that the grounding of this vessel was not caused by negligence on the part of the vessel owner and its crew. Workers in the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil industry are exposed to dangers far beyond that of the average land-based worker. Vessel owners should not add to those dangers in transporting offshore workers to and from their job locations.
If anyone is injured in an accident such as this, they should contact an experienced maritime and offshore attorney to explain the rights one has under the Jones Act and general maritime law.
For further information, visit our website at www.jpricemcnamara.com.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Worker Sues Employer for Alleged Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
JONES ACT, MARITIME AND OFFSHORE INJURIES
A Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up worker has filed a lawsuit against his employer in New Orleans federal court alleging he experienced respiratory failure and developed bipolar pneumonia as a result of his exposure to the oil. On December 29, 2011, Luke Boudreaux filed suit against Craig Creppel and DRC Group over an incident which allegedly occurred in September 2010 while he was employed aboard the Captain Matt. Boudreaux alleges he was exposed to toxic chemicals which caused his injuries while the ship was engaged in Deepwater Horizon oil spill remediation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.
Boudreaux claims his employer was negligent for failing to provide a safe working environment, failing to properly maintain the Captain Matt, failing to have a plan in place to complete remediation tasks in a safe manner, and failing to provide enough crew members and the proper tools to complete the task. He has asked the court to compensate him for maintenance and cure, loss of wages and earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, disability, post-traumatic stress, emotional distress, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
Under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee will receive compensation for injuries sustained while on the job regardless of fault. Unfortunately, employees who sustain injuries while employed on an offshore vessel have little recourse through state workers’ compensation laws. Instead, they benefit from the provisions of the Jones Act. Congress passed the Jones Act in 1920 in an effort to protect employees injured while working at sea or on a floating vessel. The Act allows an injured marine employee to directly sue his or her employer but also requires the employee to prove the employer was negligent in causing the injury. An employee may seek maintenance and cure and financial recovery for personal injuries under the Act. Non-pecuniary awards, however, are prohibited.
For Jones Act protections to apply, an offshore vessel must be capable of moving and an injured employee must fit the Act’s definition of a seaman. Traditionally, courts have classified a worker’s status broadly to include most staff on a ship or other vessel. A marine employee’s status as well as the amount of compensation an injured seaman may receive under the Jones Act is generally quite complicated. An experienced Jones Act attorney can help you determine your status, protect your rights, and determine how to seek fair compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured while working offshore, it is important to contact an experienced Jones Act attorney as soon as possible. J. Price McNamara, a New Orleans Jones Act lawyer, is available to speak with you about your injuries and discuss your status under the Act. Our skilled and diligent personal injury lawyers represent clients throughout Louisiana, including Metairie, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Mandeville, and Lafayette. For a free initial consultation, contact J. Price McNamara through his website or call him at (866) 248-0580 today.
Two New Seaman Injury Cases Filed in New Orleans Federal Court
On December 19th, Audrey Brown filed a lawsuit against her employer in a New Orleans federal court seeking compensation for injuries she claims she sustained while working offshore. According to the lawsuit, Brown fell down stairs while working aboard the M/V Maersk Texas in early 2010. As a result of the fall, Brown alleges she sustained a complicated and painful cut to her face as well as nerve damage and emotional distress.
In her lawsuit, Brown claims Maersk Line Limited committed negligence by failing to provide her with a safe working environment and by operating a ship which was unseaworthy. Brown is seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, maintenance and cure, pain and suffering, and disability as well as other damages. She has asked the court to award her $5 million for her injuries.
Also last week, offshore worker Jaime Medina filed a lawsuit against his employer in New Orleans federal court seeking damages for injuries allegedly sustained on a marine vessel. On December 22, Medina filed a case against Reel Pipe, Offshore Service Vessels, and Galliano Marine Service for injuries he claims resulted from a fall while onboard the M/V Joshua Chouest. According to Medina, he tripped on a stairwell kick plate and fell down the stairs after performing maintenance on a generator onboard the ship in 2009. He claims he injured his hand, wrist, and shoulder while grabbing onto a handrail during his fall.
Medina has accused his employer of negligence, failure to warn, failure to adhere to safety regulations, and failure to provide safe working conditions. He is seeking $5 million for purported pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and a variety of other damages.
Seamen injured while working onboard a floating vessel generally have no remedy available to them through state workers’ compensation laws and regulations. Instead, injured seamen are protected by federal law through the Jones Act. In 1920, Congress passed the Jones Act to provide injured seamen with the opportunity to directly sue an employer for injuries sustained while onboard a ship or other floating vessel. Jones Act claims are generally predicated on an act of negligence or allegations of a marine vessel’s lack of seaworthiness.
For Jones Act provisions to apply, a worker must fit the Act’s definition of a seaman. Additionally, an offshore vessel must be floating and cannot be affixed to the seafloor. Most offshore workers qualify for seaman status under the Act. The Jones Act provides an injured seaman with the opportunity to receive payment for both personal injuries and maintenance and cure. The Act does not allow for payment of non-pecuniary damages, however. Determining the amount of compensation a seaman may be eligible to receive as a result of an offshore injury can be difficult. An experienced Jones Act attorney can assist you.
If you were injured while working offshore, our qualified Louisiana maritime and offshore injury lawyers can help you determine your offshore employee status. J. Price McNamara assists clients throughout Louisiana, including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Metairie, and Mandeville. To schedule a free initial consultation, call J. Price McNamara today at (866) 248-0580 or contact us through our website.
Louisiana Jones Act Claim Filed After Five Workers Fall 80 Feet Into the Gulf of Mexico
JONES ACT, MARITIME AND OFFSHORE INJURIES
Five men have recently filed a Jones Act lawsuit against Tetra Technologies, Inc. in New Orleans federal court. The men are alleging they fell 80 feet into the Gulf of Mexico during removal of a bridge which connected two pieces of an oil production platform last May. The five offshore workers, Josue Olvera Armijo, Jose Luis Ponce-Zuniga, Kyle Ivy, Derrick Picou and Abraham Mayorga, were assigned the task while initially working aboard the D/B Tetra.
According to the complaint, the five men cut the bridge’s support structures and affixed four nylon straps to the bridge. After a crane made an unsuccessful attempt to lift and remove the bridge, the nylon straps were allowed to hang loosely. The five workers were allegedly instructed to climb onto the bridge in order to ascertain the next steps to remove the bridge. While the men were on top of the bridge examining it, one end collapsed and tilted towards the water. Everything on the bridge, including the workers, fell 80 feet into the water below.
The workers accuse Tetra Technologies, Inc. of multiple acts of negligence and seek compensation for injuries sustained both during their fall and when they were purportedly struck by falling equipment while in the water. In addition to damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and permanent disability, the workers also asked the court to award punitive damages against the company.
Offshore workers injured while on the job normally have little or no recourse through workers’ compensation laws. Instead, they are protected by The Jones Act. Congress passed the Act in 1920 in order to allow an employee injured while working on a marine vessel to directly sue an employer based on the vessel’s lack of seaworthiness or the employer’s negligence. The provisions of the Act are important because it provides offshore workers with recourse previously unavailable through general maritime law.
In order file a Jones Act claim, an offshore vessel must not be affixed to the seafloor and an injured worker must fit the Act’s definition of a seaman. Most workers on a marine ship or other floating vessel qualify for seaman status under the Act. The Act allows an injured employee to receive compensation for both maintenance and cure and personal injuries. It does not allow for non-pecuniary damage awards, however. Determining an offshore worker’s status and the amount of compensation an employee may be awarded under the Act can be tricky. A qualified Jones Act lawyer can help.
If you were injured while working offshore, our experienced Louisiana Jones Act attorneys can help you determine your marine employee status. J. Price McNamara represents clients throughout Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Mandeville. For more information call J. Price McNamara today at (866) 248-0580 or contact us through our website.
Worker Sues After Falling 85 Feet on Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit
JONES ACT, MARITIME AND OFFSHORE INJURIES
An employee of National Oilwell Varco has filed a lawsuit in a New Orleans federal court against Alimak Hek, Inc. for injuries received while performing work on a mobile offshore drilling unit. Christopher Gonzales is seeking damages for injuries stemming from his 85 foot fall through an open elevator shaft on the Discoverer Deep Seas last April. In his lawsuit, Gonzales alleges he and a crew of co-workers were hurried through an elevator installation project on the rig by representatives of Alimak Hek. The crew Gonzales worked on was tasked with removal of an existing elevator and the assembly and installation of a new one. According to Gonzales, Alimak Hek was responsible for planning and supervising the elevator installation on the Transocean owned vessel. Gonzales alleges one of Alimak Hek’s employees created the hole through which he fell and sustained massive injuries.
Gonzales alleges employees of Alimak Hek ordered him to assemble the elevator in a manner that was inconsistent with plans and specifications approved by Transocean. According to Gonzales, the alterations were then rejected by Transocean. This resulted in pressure from Alimak Hek to complete the project quickly and to avoid delay.
Gonzales was injured while installing paneling in an elevator shaft 225 feet above the rig’s drill floor. He stated in his complaint that he was assured the top of the elevator would be positioned level with a steel grating on which Gonzales stood while working. Instead, an Alimak Hek supervisor allegedly moved the elevator to a position 85 feet below the grating which created a hole in Gonzales’ work platform. Gonzales inadvertently fell through the hole and the top of the elevator broke his fall. He sustained multiple injuries which required several surgeries and a great deal of rehabilitation.
Workers who sustain injuries on a mobile offshore drilling unit generally have little recourse through workers’ compensation laws but are instead subject to the protections of the Jones Act. The Jones Act was passed by Congress in 1920 in an effort to protect marine employees injured while working on a floating vessel. The act allows an injured employee to directly sue a marine employer. In order for the Jones Act to apply, an offshore vessel must be mobile and the injured worker must fit the Act’s definition of a seaman. Courts have traditionally classified a worker’s seaman status broadly to include most staff on a ship or other vessel.
The Jones Act provides for maintenance and cure and allows financial recovery for personal injuries, but does not allow for non-pecuniary awards. A marine employee’s status as well as the amount of compensation an injured seaman may receive under the Jones Act is complicated. An experienced Jones Act attorney can help you determine your status and protect your rights.
If you have questions regarding an injury you received on a mobile offshore drilling unit or other vessel, contact Baton Rouge maritime and offshore injury attorney J. Price McNamara for a free initial consultation.
Our skilled maritime lawyer represent clients throughout Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Metairie, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Mandeville. For more information call J. Price McNamara today at (866) 248-0580. You may also contact us through our website.