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Lafayette Maritime Accident & Injury Lawyers | Oil Rig Injury Lawyer
Lafayette Maritime Lawyers, Lafayette Admiralty Lawyers, Lafayette Offshore Lawyers & Port of New Orleans Jones Act Lawyers are here to serve you!
The Port of Baton Rouge is part of the Port of South Louisiana and located a few miles away from the city of Lafayette. Additionally, the port of South Louisiana is the largest port by volume in the Western Hemisphere and the largest bulk cargo port in the world. The location of the port, at the mouth of the Mississippi River, is so vital to the rest of the country that at one point, Lafayette was the largest city in the United States. Through its history, the port has seen pirates, wars, international commerce, and, in more modern times, cruise ships.
Major types of cargo handled at these ports are steel, coffee, rubber, grain, agricultural products, and petroleum products. The port is also a major gateway to Latin America. In addition to all this, the Port of New Orleans houses cruise lines and other passenger vessels.
These vessels are navigated by the members of the Crescent Rivers' Pilot Association and the New Orleans and Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association, which are both parts of a larger group called the Louisiana River Pilots' Association. Countless seamen of all types man the vessels that navigate the Port of Lafayette, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico each day. Many other Lafayette workers are employed on offshore oil rigs, platforms, and derricks.Inevitably, accidents on these vessels and offshore rigs sometimes cause injury to the workers who keep them running. When this happens, a variety of legal courses of action might be advisable, from a Jones Act claim, to a claim under the General Maritime Law, or, in some cases where certain Jones Act requirements are not met, a claim under the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWLA). For advice regarding your legal rights following an injury sustained while in the employ of a vessel, contact one of the Lafayette maritime law attorneys listed above. Lafayette maritime lawyers are some of the best in the country and can help you successfully pursue a claim for compensation if you have been injured on the job.
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a federal law that covers seaman injured on the job. Before the Jones Act was passed by Congress in 1920, there were no written laws or statutes designed to protect seamen and their families in the event that they were injured on the job. Thus, injured seamen were required to resort to the "common law," or General Maritime Law, which is the judge-made law passed down over time and slowly incorporated into the legal system. With the passage of the Jones Act, seamen were finally able to enjoy more predictable and immediate benefits when they were injured.
Unlike Louisiana workers' compensation laws, which actually prohibit an injured worker from suing his employer while collecting benefits, the Jones Act requires a seaman to file a Jones Act claim to receive any compensation. Also unlike workers' comp, the Jones Act is a "fault-based" system and the injured worker must show that the employer was negligent and/or that the vessel he was working on was "unseaworthy." "Unseaworthiness" signifies that some condition on the vessel made it "not fit for its intended purpose." An injured Jones Act seaman is also entitled to "maintenance and cure," which is similar to workers' comp, although it is not statutory like workers' comp. Under the Jones Act, an employer can also be held liable for Lafayette Punitive Damages for arbitrarily and capriciously denying payment of maintenance and/or cure benefits. Thus, the Jones Act is a tremendous tool which allows Lafayette maritime attorneys successfully to pursue claims for accidents and injuries suffered by Lafayette Parish offshore workers and seamen.
Lafayette Maritime Lawyers can help you with your legal claims. For other types of immediate assistance, contact these Lafayette Parish area Seafarer's Assistance Programs.
Harvey, LA 70058-2341
The Norwegian Seaman's Church
1772 Prytania St.
New Orleans, LA, 70130
German Seamens' Mission
6612 Canal Boulevard
New Orleans, LA 70124-3212
What damages can a Lafayette Parish Maritime Lawyer get you under the Jones Act and the General Maritime Law?
Who qualifies as a Jones Act seaman?
The Jones Act encompasses a broad range of persons into its definition of "seaman." In addition to full time members of the crew, masters of the vessel and other employees who have a substantial connection to the vessel will likely be entitled to compensation for injuries sustained on the job. The general rule is that any employee that spends over 30% of his or her time on a vessel in navigation will qualify for seaman status. To recover, the seaman/employee must also work on a vessel that operates on navigable waterways and is engaged in interstate commerce. An experienced Lafayette Maritime Lawyer will be familiar with these laws and can advise you of your status as either a seaman, longshoreman, or otherwise, and help you navigate the legal system regardless of whether you are technically considered a Jones Act seaman.
For a complete COLREGS U.S.C.G. manual on Navigation, including lighting, click here. If you are interested in becoming an Lafayette Jones Act Seaman, these Lafayette area maritime schools can help you get training.
Louisiana Maritime Training Schools:
Martin International, Inc.
133 Woodland Drive
LaPlace, LA 70068
(866) 652-3087 or
Fax: (985) 651-5167
Marine Training Service
4290 Highway 1
Raceland LA 70394
How long do you have to file a Jones Act or General Maritime Law claim?
Generally, both Jones Act claims for maintenance and cure or General Maritime Law claims for unseaworthiness against a vessel owner may be filed up to three (3) years from the date of injury. However, when the case is being brought against the U.S. government, the statute of limitations may be somewhat shorter.
Contact a Lafayette Jones Act lawyer immediately upon being injured to be advised of your legal rights.
To find a Lafayette Maritime Attorney, see the box in the top-left corner of this page. These Lafayette Maritime Lawyers are experienced and qualified to represent you.
Other Helpful Information & Links
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Headquarters
US Department of Transportation
U.S. Coast Guard Eighth District
The BP Transocean Gulf Oil Spill
Oil rigs like the one involved in the BP Gulf Oil Spill disaster are owned and run by large companies who look to cut costs and make a profit. Often, these profits are made by cutting corners in their safety procedures. One way large companies can save money is by undermanning a rig or manning it with people who have made big mistakes before. Management at these companies must report all safety issues and be able to do so without fear of retribution from the company who owns the rig or vessel. There can also be problems when the Coast Guard mis-classifies a vessel. For example, the Deepwater Horizon was classified as a Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) when it realistically was also a dynamically positioned vessel (DPV). A DPV uses a complicated computerized system of thrusters propellers and sensors to keep the ship in place. This is important because it changed the crew and manning requirements for the vessel. This could have helped lead to the oil spill. Another problem on drilling vessels is that the captain often is not given control over drilling operations. The captain's purpose is to make all of the final decisions on the ship. When control is taken from him, it can lead to safety problems. If you or a family member is hurt in the Gulf Offshore Oil industry, contact a Lafayette Jones Act Lawyer today.
Is the crew of a Riverboat Casino covered by the Jones Act?
The Jones Act only covers people working on a vessel. According to a United States Supreme Court decision, “the word ‘vessel' includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.” Unfortunately, there is no clear answer as to whether a riverboat casino or floating casino is a vessel. Each case is different. A court must determine whether the boat can be used as a method of transportation on water. This includes many factors such as: the presence of a crew; how permanently the boat is attached to the pier; whether the boat ever leaves the pier, whether the boat has an engine; the last time the riverboat moved; and other factors specific to each case. If the riverboat is found to be a vessel, then anyone who works on its crew, even cooks and casino dealers, would be considered a seaman, and would be covered under the Jones Act. To be considered a seaman, the worker's duties "must contribute to the function of the vessel or to the accomplishment of its mission," and the worker "must have a connection to a vessel in navigation (or an identifiable group of vessels) that is substantial in both its duration and its nature." Chandris, Inc. v. Latsis, 515 U.S. 347, 115 S. Ct. 2172, 132 L. Ed. 2d 314. Because the mission of a riverboat casino is to make money by gambling, a dealer and a cook both contribute to the accomplishment of its mission.
How can you find a quality Lafayette Maritime Lawyer or Lafayette Jones Act Attorney near you?
Contact one of the qualified Lafayette maritime lawyers listed in the box at the top left of this page, all of whom have significant experience dealing with Jones Act claims as well as other types of maritime-related lawsuits.
Lafayette Jones Act Attorneys represent clients in all areas of Lafayette and Lafayette Parish as well as the area surrounding Lafayette. Serving clients throughout Southern Louisiana, including Alexandria, Broussard, Cankton, Carencro, Duson, Lafayette, Larabee, Long Bridge, Maurice, Milton, Mire, Monroe, Morgan City, New Iberia, Scott, St. Martinville, Youngsville, and other communities in Lafayette Parish.