Injuries or deaths which occur on or near navigable waters, such as the ocean, rivers, gulfs, and lakes, are affected by special laws called “admiralty” and “maritime” laws. These laws are very complex, and a thorough understanding of them is crucial to obtaining fair compensation for a maritime injury or death. We maximize our clients’ recovery by combining our knowledge of these laws with real-world experience gained from the handling of numerous admiralty claims.
Admiralty and maritime law is largely governed by federal law and can be extremely complicated. Many workers engaged in maritime employment are covered under a Federal statute known as the Jones Act. A Jones Act “seaman” has the right to sue his/her employer for any injury resulting from the employer’s negligence. In addition, a seaman can also make a claim against the owner or operator of the ship or rig on which the injury occurs for any defects on the vessel or its crew, known as “unseaworthiness”. Injured seaman are entitled to receive a daily allowance for meals, room and board even after they return to shore to recover from a work related injury. We also fight to make sure that injured seaman receive prompt medical care completely paid for by the ship owner (called “cure”).
For those workers who are not seaman, but who are injured or killed in a maritime setting, worker’s compensation under Federal (Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act) or state law is available. In addition to recovering workers’ compensation disability benefits and payment for medical treatment, the worker who is injured (or his family if the injury results in death) may have a right to recover substantial additional money damages if the injury or death resulted from negligence of a person or company other than the employer, defects in the premises owned by someone other than the employer or due to defectively manufactured equipment. Because many work projects which occur over water or at the water’s edge involve multiple companies, an experienced maritime lawyer is needed to evaluate whether the injured worker or his family has rights to money damages in addition to workers compensation benefits.
In addition, dangerous conditions on the ship, platform or dock where the injury occurred frequently give rise to legal claims against the owner/operator of the dangerous ship or structure. Consequently, any maritime worker who suffers injury should consult a competent admiralty attorney.
Injuries also frequently occur to those being transported on boat – whether a fishing boat, jet ski, cruise liner, ferry boat or crew boat. When those injuries are caused by the negligence of the vessel owner (whether due to a collision, sinking or dangerous or defective conditions on the water craft) maritime law frequently provides a right to recover damages. Our firm’s partners have experience handling many aspects of admiralty and maritime law. We have regularly received admiralty and maritime client referrals from other attorneys throughout the southeastern United States. Our firm’s proximity to the Mississippi River and its tributaries, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico allow us the opportunity to promptly and aggressively investigate these claims. With offices in New Orleans and Gulfport, Mississippi, our firm is uniquely situated to provide legal services to the many seaman, shipyard and offshore workers who populate the Gulf Coast region. If you or someone you know have been injured on a vessel or platform, or while working in or near the water, please contact our firm for a free consultation.Click here for free case evaluation