Working as a seaman on an offshore vessel can be a physically demanding and dangerous job. Despite the many safety precautions that employers are required to take, accidents and injuries can still occur, leaving seamen with significant physical, emotional, and financial burdens. If you are a seaman who has been injured while working in Baton Rouge, it is important to understand your legal rights and options for seeking compensation.
In this blog post, we discuss the rights that seamen have under federal and state laws. We will also explore the types of compensation that may be available to injured seamen, and the importance of working with an experienced offshore injury lawyer in Baton Rouge who can help you navigate the legal process and fight for your rights.
What is a Seaman?
Under US maritime law, a “seaman” is a person who works on a vessel, such as a ship or a boat, and contributes to the vessel’s mission or function. Seamen are entitled to certain legal protections and benefits under US maritime law, including the Jones Act, which provides seamen with certain rights and protections in the event of a work-related injury or illness.
To qualify as a seaman under US maritime law, an individual must meet certain requirements:
- They must be employed on a vessel in navigation, or a vessel that is capable of being put into navigation;
- Their duties must contribute to the function or mission of the vessel; and
- They must have a connection to the vessel that is substantial in nature and duration, which typically means that they spend a significant amount of time on the vessel and contribute to the vessel’s operation. For example, a cook who spends most of their time on a fishing vessel and contributes to the vessel’s fishing operations may qualify as a seaman under US maritime law.
Injured Seaman Have Rights
If you have been injured while working as a seaman in Louisiana, you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act or other maritime laws. If you were injured while working as a seaman in Louisiana, here are some of the rights that you may have:
Right to Maintenance and Cure
You may have the right to receive maintenance and cure from your employer. Maintenance refers to the daily living expenses, such as food and lodging, that an injured seaman requires while they are recovering from an injury or illness. This includes expenses that the seaman would have incurred if they were still able to work, such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, and grocery bills.
Cure refers to medical expenses that are necessary to treat the seaman’s injury or illness. This includes doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medication, and any other medical expenses related to the injury or illness.
You are entitled to maintenance and cure until you reach maximum medical improvement (meaning you have recovered as much as possible from your injury or illness) or until you have been declared fit for duty. Furthermore, you are entitled to these benefits regardless of whether your employer or the vessel owner was at fault for your injury or illness.
Your employer or the vessel owner is responsible for providing you with maintenance and cure if you were injured or became ill while in the service of the vessel. This includes any injury that occurs on land or on the vessel itself, if you were in the service of the vessel at the time of the injury or illness.
Right to File a Claim for Unseaworthiness
You may have the right to file a claim against your employer if your injury was caused by their negligence or an unsafe working environment. This claim can cover damages such as lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.
Under the Jones Act, which is a federal law that governs the rights of seamen who are injured while working on a vessel, a seaman has the right to file a claim against their employer if their injury was caused by the employer’s negligence or by an unseaworthy condition of the vessel.
Negligence can include a failure to provide proper training or safety equipment, inadequate maintenance of the vessel, or other acts or omissions that contribute to an unsafe working environment. An unseaworthy condition of the vessel can include things like a slippery deck, faulty equipment, or other conditions that make it difficult or unsafe for seamen to perform their duties.
In addition to the Jones Act, you may have the right to file a claim for compensation under other federal and state maritime laws, such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), the Death on the High Seas Act, or general maritime law.
Right to Representation
You have the right to be represented by an attorney who is experienced in maritime law. Maritime law is a complex and specialized area of law, and it is important to have an attorney who is familiar with the relevant laws and regulations.
An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your claim is properly filed and handled. In addition to handling the legal aspects of your claim, an attorney can also help you access medical care and treatment, document your injuries and expenses, and negotiate with your employer or the vessel owner to reach a fair settlement.
When selecting an attorney, it is important to choose someone who has experience in handling maritime injury claims and who is committed to fighting for your rights. A personal injury lawyer who specializes in maritime law will be familiar with the unique challenges of these types of claims and will have the knowledge and resources necessary to handle them effectively.
Contact a Baton Rouge Offshore Injury Lawyer from Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers
If you are a seaman who has been injured while working in Louisiana, it is important to take action to protect your legal rights and seek the compensation that you are entitled to. By working with an experienced and knowledgeable offshore injury lawyer, Baton Rouge seaman can ensure their rights are protected and that they receive the compensation that they deserve.
At Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping injured seamen obtain the compensation they need to recover from their injuries and move forward with their lives. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what rights injured seamen have in Baton Rouge and how we can help.
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