Since Louisiana has such a thriving maritime industry, there are certain protections that people who work as seamen have available to file a claim after injury. The Jones Act is in place so a lawsuit can be filed against an employer to receive higher compensation than what would be available under other laws. Maritime law allows workers in this industry to utilize the Jones Act. Alternatively referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, this lets a worker who was injured file a lawsuit against an employer for negligence while they were working.
This could be negligence stemming from the employer or another employee. The employer is obligated to have a safe working environment for employees, make certain the proper training has been given regarding safety, and the workers are given safety equipment. Under the Jones Act, a worker can seek compensation for pain and suffering, mental and emotional aftereffects and lost wages. Maritime workers have much more to gain under the Jones Act than they do under a workers’ compensation insurance claim.
Employees who were injured when working on a vessel or a fleet of vessels may fall under the Jones Act for compensation if they worked with vessels such as a drill barge, a riverboat casino, fishing boats, trollers and many more. When the worker was injured on one of the listed vessels and the work he or she was doing was a contribution to the vessel’s mission, the worker may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the employer and fellow workers for injuries that happened through their negligence.
This goes beyond people who got hurt while on the vessels. If the person spent greater than 30 percent of their time on a vessel or fleet of vessels, he or she might also be eligible to file a case under the Jones Act. This applies even if they were injured when ashore or traveling to work on the vessels. The worker will retain seaman status whether on the boat or dry land. People who were injured while covered by the Jones Act might not even be aware of their rights under this law. When injured while working on a boat, an investigation is key. Having help from a lawyer who is experienced in boat accidents, such as those at Gaar Law Firm is imperative to pursuing litigation.