Maritime Law in Action for One Belleville Man

February 12, 2016 | J. Price McNamara
Maritime Law in Action for One Belleville Man

The threat of injury when doing physical activity for an employer is simply a reality for some professions. This is especially true when it comes to maritime work, which can be complicated by the constant presence of water. Fortunately, there are laws that have been put in place specifically to protect those who work in the maritime industry. That said, these laws can be complicated and can be very different from standard Louisiana law. Because of this, you will want to work with a lawyer like J. Price McNamara, who is well versed in maritime law. A recent news article that has been circulating involves a maritime worker who is suing his employer due to an injury he received on the job. We encourage you to read on to learn more about this case and what laws are in place to protect this man’s rights.

The Benefits of the Jones Act

On January 22nd, a Belleville man filed a suit against SGS Petroleum Service Corporation, a Baton Rouge, LA company, for injuries he received while on the job. On December 23, 2014, Mark S. Purkaple was assigned to do the work of a tankerman, meaning he was in charge of such tasks as starting the boat’s engine, changing its filters, pumping out water, and adding fuel to the ship. However, while he was going about his work, he slipped and fell on the boarding ramp leading up to the boat, as it was wet and slippery. When he fell, he ended up injuring his right foot and ankle. Mr. Purkaple’s suit claims that his injuries were purely the result of negligence on the part of the SGS Petroleum Service Corporation, as they had failed to provide a safe place to work. Not only that, but his lawsuit claims that the company did not provide a safe means of entry and exit for the ship, and they did not properly inspect or treat the boarding ramp. Because of this failure, Mr. Purkaple injured himself, which required that he seek medical treatment, involving tests and therapy. He also claims that he will have to seek further treatment, which will further exasperate his loss of wages, benefits, and earning capacity. Mr. Purkaple’s suit is centered on violations of the Jones Act, a piece of law that was passed to govern the compensation rights of workers who perform labor on water-worthy vessels. The Jones Act, also referred to as the “Merchant Marine Act of 1920”, states that maritime workers who have been in accidents or have become sick due to their work-related duties are entitled to compensation from their employers. In this case, Mr. Purkaple qualifies to utilize this piece of legislation to seek over $50,000 in compensation, plus whatever it will take to cover court costs and any other relief the court sees fit.

Contact the Baton Rouge or Metairie Offices of J. Price McNamara

Have you received an injury while performing maritime related duties and would like to find out if you are entitled to compensation for those injuries? Are you having difficulty navigating the laws set in place to protect maritime workers? Then we encourage you to contact our office and schedule a no-obligation, comprehensive case review with J. Price McNamara today. We are ready to help you, so contact us today.
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J. Price McNamara


Losing my own brother, then my father and sister after long, disabling illnesses just a few months apart drove a career change for me. Before that experience, I never truly understood the place you’re in. I never understood the dramatic impact that receiving (or not receiving) the disability and life insurance benefits you paid for and counted on can have on your life especially when you need to focus on family and healing. What I experienced with my own family now drives the way I view my clients and my work, and I will never forget it!

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