Maritime Offshore Injury Lawyers
What is Maritime Law?
Because of its proximity to the ocean, it is not difficult to understand how the laws of the sea interact with other types of litigation in the state. Louisiana has its share of recreational boat and yacht owners as well as fishing boats and cruise ships. Whether you are a seaman injured on the job, a cruise ship passenger injured by a dangerous vessel, or a recreational boat owner injured by the negligence of another boat owner, Louisiana courts will handle your claim based on maritime laws which can include the following:
- All rights related to seafarers
- Cases related to passengers on ships, cruise ships or other vessels
- Cruise ship injuries
- Accidents which occur during recreational boating
- Jet ski accidents
- Water sports injuries
- Any crime occurring on navigable waters
- All legal issues concerning ships, shipping, sailors and the transportation of passengers and goods via the sea
- Cases which fall under the Jones Act or Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
- Marine commerce
- Marine navigation
- Maritime insurance, contracts, liability, oil spills, arbitration and environmental law
- Diving and offshore injuries
Maritime law incorporates Louisiana laws, federal laws and international laws, therefore can be very complex, requiring a highly knowledgeable maritime attorney from Hoffoss Devall. Our attorneys have the necessary level of knowledge and training and can help you with any maritime issue you may have. The statute of limitations for Louisiana maritime injuries is three years from the date of the injury; missing this date can result in your being barred from recovering compensation for your injuries. Maritime claims can be difficult as there are specific laws in place which protect the owners and operators of vessels to come degree. This does not mean these owners and operators cannot be held responsible for your losses, only that our attorneys will need to conduct a careful case review and investigation into the matter.
Louisiana Boating Accident Attorneys
Thousands of Louisiana residents and visitors participate in recreational boating activities. Occasionally, an accident occurs as a result of the negligence of others. The types of recreational boating accidents can include the following:
- Jet ski and Wave runner accidents occur when a person is ejected from the watercraft or collides with another boater or fixed object. The accident could be a result of the negligence of another person or a defect in the watercraft design or manufacture.
- The captains, operators and owners of commercial boats and ferry boats can be held responsible for injuries sustained by passengers or crew if negligence is a factor in the accident.
- Owners of docks or marinas may be held responsible when an accident with injuries occurs as a result of rotten, slippery or poorly maintained surfaces.
- Boating while intoxicated results in the captain of the vessel being liable for the injuries of any passenger or any person on another boat or watercraft or on land who is injured due to the negligence of an intoxicated captain or owner of the boat.
- Diving operators can be held accountable for injuries to scuba divers if negligence caused a catastrophic injury or death.
- Any private boat operator must provide a safe passage for those on the boat; when a passenger is thrown overboard, injured on deck, injured as a result of a collision with another boat, dock or bridge, the boat owner may be liable for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Cruise Ship Injuries
Many people travel to Louisiana ports each year to sail away to an exotic location or relaxing getaway. Unfortunately, many of these passengers will suffer a serious cruise ship injury or illness, or, in rare cases, death. Cruise lines will typically provide a selection clause on the cruise ship ticket which will determine where a lawsuit must be filed. If you have been injured while on a pleasure cruise, you must also be aware that your carrier may have included a provision in your ticket which requires a six-months’ notice of your injury and the filing of a lawsuit within one year of your cruise ship injury.
Always save your passenger ticket if you have traveled on a cruise ship until you are home safely and are sure you suffered no injury or illness while on the cruise. Cruise lines are required to utilize reasonable measures that protect passengers from dangers or hazards which could lead to serious injury or death. Nonetheless, poor maintenance, improperly trained crew members, inadequate security procedures or flawed emergency precautions exist and can lead to serious accidents.
Cruise ship accidents can encompass slip and falls on wet or uneven surfaces, food contamination, accidents resulting from onboard activities, assault and rape by crew members or other passengers, or diseases such as Legionnaire’s disease. In the event of a serious accident or death, a lawsuit may be filed by the injured person—or family member in the case of wrongful death—under maritime laws.
Understanding the Jones Act
In 1920, an important piece of United States legislation was passed in the form of the Jones Act. This act was meant to provide additional protections for sailors and crew members, however, the laws and benefits the Jones Act provides can be extremely complex, requiring a highly qualified attorney to help navigate the legal benefits. The Jones Act was first titled the Merchant Marine Act, and, prior to its passage, sailors injured on the job had little recourse after suffering a serious injury.
Under the Jones Act, any sailor injured at sea is entitled to Maintenance and Cure; the employer must pay the injured sailor a daily stipend, as well as providing necessary medical care to fully treat the sailor’s injuries. Any sailor who spends at least 30% of his or her time in active service on a Merchant Marine vessel is qualified for benefits under the Jones Act in the event of an accident with injuries. The captain and all crew members onboard the vessel are covered, and, in general, the benefits provided under the Jones Act are significantly better than those which the injured worker would receive under state workers’ compensation.
The Rights of Maritime Workers
Maritime workers have the following rights:
- The captain of the ship must ensure there is appropriate safety equipment on the vessel;
- Workers must be properly trained to avoid injuries;
- Injured workers may bring a claim of maritime injury, collecting from their employers for losses resulting from the injury;
- Workers cannot be compelled to work in hazardous or negligent conditions;
- The owner of the boat must ensure it is seaworthy and free of unsafe conditions.
The Most Common Maritime Injuries
While there are any number of injuries which can occur on a cruise ship, boat, watercraft, dock or marina, the most common injuries include:
- Catastrophic injuries such as brain trauma or spinal cord injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries for crew members
- Slip and fall injuries
- Broken bones, lost limbs, amputations
- Lifting injuries to shoulders and arms
Any of these injuries can result in wrongful death, future pain and suffering, and permanent or partial disability.
Getting the Help You Need for Offshore Injuries from Hoffoss Devall
The attorneys at Hoffoss Devall have the necessary experience in maritime and admiralty law to help you with your offshore injury. Our firm has an exemplary reputation, as well as extensive knowledge of maritime, state and federal laws associated with offshore injuries. We have a solid understanding of the Jones Act as well as significant experience with cruise ship injuries, recreational boating injuries and injuries to captains and crew members. At Hoffoss Devall, we ensure your case receives the time and dedication it deserves as we work to secure equitable compensation for your maritime offshore injuries. Whether you need a knowledgeable boating accident lawyers, an experienced Jones Act claims lawyer or a highly qualified cruise ship accident attorney, Hoffoss Devall can help. Call (337) 433-2053 or contact us online today.