Navigating Maritime Admiralty Law in New Orleans
Thousands of vessels come and go from Louisiana’s many ports and harbors each year. From commercial fishing and shipping to offshore drilling and cruise ships, the maritime industry encompasses various professions, each with its own hazards and potential legal issues. When a seaman is injured while conducting work on or near a navigable body of water, their rights and legal options will likely be determined by maritime law.
Our New Orleans maritime lawyer has 35 years of experience and is extensively familiar with how to navigate cases within admiralty jurisdiction. At Hammond Law Firm LLC, we regularly help seamen enforce their rights under the Jones Act and collect maintenance and cure benefits they are owed.
Our team also assists with claims involving offshore platform accidents and injuries. We understand the intricacies of maritime law and will leverage our knowledge and resources to fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
At Hammond Law Firm, LLC, we understand the complexities of maritime admiralty law and its impact on individuals working in sea jobs. Our team of seasoned maritime lawyers is dedicated to strong legal representation and advocacy for maritime workers and their families. We are here to help you navigate the intricate legal landscape of admiralty law, safeguard your rights, and seek the compensation and justice you deserve.
Do not wait to contact us online if you have been injured and need help enforcing your rights.
Our Practice Areas Cover
- Jones Act Claims
- Maintenance and Cure
- Offshore Platform Accidents & Injuries
- Admiralty Personal Injury
- Wrongful Death
- Maritime Product Liability
Contact Hammond Law Firm LLC for experienced representation in maritime legal matters. We advocate justice, provide legal advice & help pursue justice for the rights of maritime workers and their families, providing skilled advocacy and pursuing favorable outcomes.
Understanding The Jones Act –
Unlike many other workers, seamen are not entitled to workers’ compensation when they are injured on the job. Instead, injured seamen are permitted to sue their employers for negligence under the Jones Act.
The Act requires maritime employers to maintain reasonably safe working conditions. To recover damages as an injured seaman, you must prove that your employer failed to meet these obligations and that their negligence caused your injuries.
You may have a maritime injury claim under the Jones Act if your employer failed to:
- Maintain vessel equipment
- Provide sufficient and safe equipment to workers
- Adequately train workers
- Address unsafe work methods
- Regularly clean oil, grease, or slick surfaces
- Take reasonable steps to prevent a workplace assault
Consider a scenario where a maritime employer fails to thoroughly inspect their vessel and consequently does not notice that a hatch’s hinges are deteriorating. After setting sail, a seaman passes through the hatch, which snaps off due to disrepair. The hatch falls to the ground and crushes the seaman’s foot in the process.
Because a reasonable inspection and proper maintenance likely would have prevented this outcome, the seaman likely has a maritime injury claim under the Jones Act.
Unlike a traditional personal injury claim, an injured seaman is not required to demonstrate that their employer’s negligence was the primary cause of their injuries. They need only prove that their employer’s negligence contributed to the cause of their injuries. This substantially lower burden of proof often makes it much easier to hold employers accountable for unsafe conduct.
If you are a seaman who has been injured while at work, you must initiate legal action within three years of the date the incident took place. Jones Act lawsuits can be filed in state or federal courts.
Successful legal action under the Jones Act can entitle you to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, reductions in earning capacity, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and more.
Our New Orleans maritime lawyer knows how to approach these cases and will seek the maximum level of compensation available to you.
What Is Maintenance and Cure In Maritime Law?
The Jones Act also requires employers to provide “maintenance and cure” benefits to seamen while they recover from work-related injuries. Unfortunately, many maritime employers attempt to shortchange their injured employees or refuse to pay them anything at all.
“Maintenance” refers to room and board. Because a vessel generally provides food and lodging to working seamen as part of their compensation, employers are legally required to cover these expenses when a seaman is recovering from a work-related injury. Therefore, maintenance benefits cover housing costs (rent or mortgage), essential utilities, food, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes. Employers generally do not have to reimburse an injured seaman for car payments, automobile insurance, gas, internet, telephone, or cable bills.
“Cure” benefits cover most medical expenses. This includes the cost of transportation to and from any necessary medical treatments.
An injured seaman is entitled to maintenance and cure benefits until they reach what their doctor believes to be their point of “maximum medical improvement” (MMI). In other words, an injured seaman must continue to receive benefits until it is determined they are not likely to get any better. This does not necessarily mean an injured seaman must make a full recovery.
Some maritime employers will do everything possible to avoid paying maintenance and cure. The reality is that disbursement of these benefits is not optional and is required by law. If your employer is failing to honor your rights and provide you with the compensation you need to recover, our team can help.
What Are Offshore Platform Accidents?
Guarding Yourself Against Occupational Risks
The Louisiana coast hosts dozens of offshore rigs and platforms. These facilities are known to be extremely dangerous and represent a certain high level of occupational risk by default. Fires, explosions, mechanical issues, and failure to appropriately handle heavy equipment can all result in serious injuries and even death.
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act specifically covers oil rig and platform workers.
This law potentially entitles workers to compensation if they experience work-related injuries. Dependents of oil rig and platform workers may also be able to recover compensation if their loved one is killed in a workplace accident.
At Hammond Law Firm LLC, we do not give up when fighting for your rights.
When you are injured in a maritime accident, you deserve to recover the full amount of what you are owed. You will often need this compensation to provide for your family and cover exorbitant medical bills.
Our New Orleans maritime lawyers recognize what is at stake. We are prepared to take on complex cases and will take every step necessary to advance your claim and deliver a favorable resolution.
Schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about how we can help you recover what you are owed under admiralty law. Contact us online!
How Is Fault Established in Maritime Admiralty Cases?
In admiralty law, establishing fault and liability involves key factors under Louisiana law:
- Negligence: Negligence must be shown to prove fault—breach of duty resulting in injury or damage.
- Vessel Owner’s Duties: Vessel owners have duties to crew and passengers, including providing a seaworthy vessel and maintaining a safe environment.
- Seaman’s Rights: Seamen have rights under the Jones Act and maritime law, entitling them to compensation for injuries caused by negligence. (The Jones Act (46 U.S.C. § 30104)).
- Proximate Cause: Proving direct causation between the defendant’s negligence and the injuries or damages suffered.
Louisiana’s specific maritime laws impact fault determination and liability establishment. A skilled maritime attorney protects your rights and maximizes your compensation by examining evidence, assessing negligence, evaluating duties, and establishing the proximate cause.
Consulting an experienced maritime attorney well-versed in Louisiana maritime law is crucial.
Some Complexities in Maritime Admiralty Law That Require Legal Assistance
Admiralty law in Louisiana involves various legal complexities and nuances that require careful consideration. Some key complexities and nuances include:
1. Jurisdictional Issues:
Admiralty cases often involve determining the appropriate jurisdiction for the claim. Determining whether a case falls under federal admiralty jurisdiction or state law jurisdiction can be complex. It may impact the applicable legal standards and remedies available for your case.
2. Choice of Law:
Admiralty law involves a choice of law analysis, where the court determines which jurisdiction’s laws apply to the case. This analysis considers factors such as the incident’s location, the parties’ nationality, and the applicable maritime conventions or treaties.
3. Federal Statutes and Regulations:
Marine admiralty law in Louisiana is governed by various federal statutes and regulations, including the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), and others. Understanding and applying these laws correctly is crucial for pursuing a successful admiralty claim.
4. Unique Maritime Terminology and Customs:
Admiralty law has its own distinct terminology, customs, and practices that may differ from other areas of law. Familiarity with these unique aspects is essential for effectively handling admiralty cases and ensuring proper interpretation and application of the law.
5. Limitation of Liability Actions:
Shipowners and maritime employers may seek to limit their liability under certain circumstances. Limitation of liability actions can be complex and involve filing a petition in federal court to seek limitation of liability. Navigating these actions requires thoroughly understanding the procedures and legal standards involved.
6. International Maritime Law Considerations:
Admiralty law in Louisiana often involves international aspects, such as maritime commerce, shipping contracts, and collisions between vessels from different countries. Understanding international maritime law principles and conventions is necessary when dealing with these complex cases.
Navigating these legal complexities and nuances in admiralty law requires the legal purview of experienced New Orleans maritime attorneys. Contact us today for a free consultation & case review so we can further secure your benefits!
Insights From Our Adept New Orleans Maritime Lawyers
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What types of cases fall under admiralty law?
Admiralty law covers a wide range of cases, including personal injury claims, wrongful death claims, maritime accidents, vessel collisions, cargo disputes, maritime liens, salvage claims, and other legal issues arising in navigable waters.
2. What laws apply to maritime cases in Louisiana?
A combination of federal laws, international treaties, and state laws governs maritime cases in Louisiana. Common federal statutes include the Jones Act, Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), and general maritime law.
3. What is the prescription period for filing an admiralty maritime claim in Louisiana?
The statute of limitations claims in Louisiana can differ on the specific circumstances and the type of claim. It is essential to consult with a maritime lawyer promptly to ensure compliance with the applicable time limits.
Why Do You Need Our New Orleans Maritime Lawyers for A Successful Claim?
Maritime laws, such as the Jones Act, General Maritime Law, Death on the High Seas Act, and Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act, can be intricate and subject to interpretation.
The nuances and intricacies of these laws require a seasoned maritime lawyer who understands the local legal landscape and has extensive experience handling maritime cases in Louisiana.
If you or a loved one work in the maritime industry, you understand this line of work’s unique challenges and risks. Maritime laws in Louisiana are complex and multifaceted, encompassing various legal issues requiring thorough knowledge and experience.
We Can Protect Your Rights on the Rough Seas
Contact Our New Orleans Maritime Lawyers Today!
As a prominent personal injury & maritime law firm in New Orleans, we deeply understand the local maritime community and the unique aspects of maritime law in Louisiana. We take a particular approach to each case, working closely with our clients to gather evidence, assess damages, and develop a robust legal strategy tailored to their specific circumstances.
Don’t deal with complex maritime law alone. Put your trust in our skilled maritime lawyers at Hammond Law Firm, LLC.
Schedule a consultation today to discuss your case and learn how we can protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.