A lot of maritime businesses are based in Louisiana and they employ a large number of people. However, offshore work is often hazardous and injuries are common. Several maritime laws, such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, have been enacted to protect the rights of offshore workers in the event of work-related injury.
A recent lawsuit illustrates the hazards of offshore work. A worker filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against a Louisiana-based business and its owners over an injury the worker suffered in July 2014 while working on a marine vessel owned by the business. According to the lawsuit, the worker sustained severe injuries to his right knee when he fell onto the deck of the vessel during a routine transfer.
Court records state that the accident occurred during a “swing transfer” from the oil well on which he was working to the marine vessel. The suit alleges there were no crew members present during the transfer to secure the worker. Moreover, the injured worker alleges that the vessel was understaffed and that the crew was not trained properly, which was a contributing factor in this particular accident. Based on those allegations, the worker is claiming compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
It is important for Louisiana workers who are employed by the maritime industry to understand that in the event of offshore accidents such as this, workers have the right to claim compensation from the parties responsible for the accident. The claims are under the jurisdiction of the Jones Act, the LHWCA and other acts that are meant to protect offshore workers. However, since the laws may seem complex to workers, they may benefit if they file their claim with the assistance of an experienced maritime law attorney.
Source: Louisiana Record, “Offshore fall provokes well worker to sue vessel owners,” Carol Ostrow, July 28, 2015