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.
J. Price McNamara Discusses Six Things You Need To Know About Maritime Lawsuits