Lambert Zainey has represented injured maritime workers for more than 40 years. Our Maritime lawyers understand the ins and outs of the maritime industry and the laws that govern maritime employers and employees. We are proud to have a reputation for aggressively fighting for the rights of injured workers and getting the full amount of compensation our clients are entitled to.
- About Our Maritime Accident Attorneys
- Common Types of Maritime Injuries and Accidents
- Inland, River, Port, and Offshore Workers We Fight For
- Maritime Laws that Affect Injured Workers
- Compensation for Workers Injured While Working a Maritime Job
- Pursuing a Maritime Accident Claim
- Frequently Asked Questions about Maritime Claims
- Get Help Now!
About Our Maritime Lawyers
Since the 1970s, the New Orleans based maritime lawyers at Lambert Zainey have successfully resolved hundreds of maritime claims worldwide.
Our admiralty and maritime law attorneys have represented offshore maritime workers including divers, blue water seamen who suffered injuries on the high seas; vessel and drill crew members suffering personal injuries and deaths resulting from offshore drilling operations, including jack-up rigs, semi-submersibles, IDBs; and crews of offshore tugs, crew boats, lift boats, work boats, supply boats, living quarters, cryogenic platforms, lay barges, derrick barges, and other special purpose vessels and operating platforms.
Over $1 Billion Recovered For Our Injured Clients
Our experienced maritime injury attorneys have also been successful representing inland maritime workers, whether tankermen & deckhands on push boats and tugs or oilers and utility men on midstream transfer operations.
If you’ve worked on a vessel, you know that the maritime world has its own language and that anyone who hasn’t experienced it probably couldn’t understand how things operate in this world. Admiralty and maritime law is similarly unique and needs an experienced maritime lawyers to maximize your recovery under whichever maritime laws may apply.Section Close DIV
Common Types of Maritime Injuries
When a person seeks employment in the offshore industry, they understand that the job comes with inherent risks other work doesn’t. Some of the most common maritime injuries can be severe, even life-threatening. The risks of suffering these injuries are greatly increased when employers and other workers are negligent in their duties. At Lambert Zainey, our experienced Louisiana offshore injury attorneys have helped workers who have been hurt in many different types of offshore accidents.
Back pain is the world’s leading cause of disability. It is also the most common on-the-job injury.
While not always catastrophic, back injuries can severely impact an offshore worker’s ability to perform his job, affecting his future earning potential.
The loss of limbs or digits may occur during an offshore accident, or be necessary as a result of the injuries sustained in an accident as part of your medical treatment.
This activity is highly effective but can be quite dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Sandblasting injuries can happen in the workplace when equipment is not properly maintained or used.
It seems maritime workers face serious risks there, too. More than a quarter of seafarers exhibit signs of depression, according to a recent study.
Maritime workers can spend months having no contact with friends or family, facing some of the harshest working conditions to be found in any job. How do these stresses impact the mental health of seamen and other maritime workers?
Burn injuries can be among the most severe, with long-term physical and emotional scars.
Of all the risks maritime workers must contend with, one of the most dangerous is exposure to harmful chemicals. Exposure to hazardous chemicals, whether by inhalation or direct contact, can result in serious, long-term health problems for maritime workers. In worse case scenarios, chemical exposure injuries can even lead to death.
Perhaps the most important point about water blasting injuries is that they may not appear severe immediately after the accident. The water blasting injuries may not even be terribly painful. Make no mistake, this injury is extremely severe.
Water blasting injuries are similar to gunshot wounds but have the added danger of contaminated water. If the water jet cuts through a shoe or sleeve and punctures the skin, it may only appear as a small bruise. What has actually happened is that contaminated water has been shot inside the body and will cause infections.
When a person exerts themselves in a hot environment, their body attempts to maintain a stable internal temperature by circulating blood to the skin and sweating. As temperatures rise, it becomes more difficult to cool the body and maintain a safe internal temperature.
High levels of humidity, such as we experience in the Gulf Coast region, also make it difficult for sweat to evaporate and cool the skin. Prolonged exposure to heat and high humidity can cause a host of heat-related health problems.
Injuries to the spine can lead to paralysis and loss of limb function.
When working on a vessel, on a dry dock or anywhere that has confined spaces and moving, heavy objects, head injuries can occur. Head injuries are especially common in the maritime industry due to the nature of the work.
Maritime workers are surrounded by cranes, crawling through confined spaces and walking through doors with low hanging beams. Anyone who has ever set foot inside a tug boat has seen that the doorways and manholes do not look like they were made for adults. Often times it is even hard for a smaller adult to squeeze through these openings. Because of this, bumps on the head are common events.
Welding fumes are hazardous to any welder, especially when working in confined spaces. Confined spaces such as tanks, cabs of mobile equipment and large shovels can prove to be exceptionally hazardous to welders and others exposed to welding fumes.
Two of the biggest causes of hypothermia for maritime workers are exposure to cold weather and immersion in cold water. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air. Immersion in cold water is especially dangerous and can lead to unconsciousness or even death in as little as 15 minutes.
Workers who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have problems with long-term cognitive and neurological functions.
Climbing from the shore to the deck of a ship is how most gangway injuries happen. The gangway is the name of the stair, ladder or bridge structure that allows access to and from the deck of a ship, boat, dry dock or any type of vessel or marine structure. Gangway security is an important part of shipyard safety.
After a maritime accident, PTSD and other emotional trauma can be just as serious of a health problem as a physical injury. Even a near miss accident — one in which a maritime worker genuinely feared for their life — can result in severe emotional stress. The Jones Act and other maritime laws allow maritime workers to seek damages for the negligent infliction of emotional stress (NIES) — so long as they were within what the courts refer to as the “zone of danger” during the incident.
Many people think of PTSD as something only war veterans experience. The truth is, anyone who has experienced a traumatic event can develop PTSD, even maritime workers. Under the Jones Act, maritime workers who suffer from job-related PTSD after a traumatic event may be able to seek compensation if their condition was the result of negligence on the part of their employers, captain or co-workers.
Why Do Maritime Injuries Happen?
Maritime jobs are dangerous for a variety of reasons, including:
- Hazardous weather and conditions
- Dangerous machinery and equipment
- Lack of maintenance to keep equipment in good operating condition
- Long working hours
- Poor company safety standards
While some maritime injuries are minor, many of these injuries will dramatically affect the worker’s life. In addition to the physical toll, severe injuries can have a lasting emotional impact on workers and their families, leading to stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
INLAND, PORT AND OFFSHORE WORKERS OUR MARITIME LAWYERS FIGHT FORSection Close DIV
Nationally Recognized Attorneys
Maritime Laws That Affect Injured Workers
Maritime laws protect offshore workers and other maritime workers after accidents and injuries. However, maritime law can be heavily detailed and challenging to navigate. If you are the victim of a maritime accident or injury, whether offshore, on an inland push boat or a midstream transfer operation on the river, contact Lambert Zainey today. Our experienced New Orleans admiralty and maritime law attorneys can help.
The following acts exist to protect maritime workers in the event of maritime injuries or accidents:
One of the most important laws governing the rights of maritime workers is the Jones Act. Enacted in the 1920s, it provides protections for seamen who are injured on the job by expanding the rights of seamen under General Maritime Law and adding new rights and causes of action by which an injured maritime worker can recover compensation for damages.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that provides for compensation, rehabilitation, and medical care to workers who are injured while working “upon the navigable waters of the United States” in jobs that that assist in maritime commerce.
The Death on the High Seas Act, or DOHSA, provides relief for the families of workers who are killed by wrongful acts or negligence while on a vessel in international waters.
There are many laws that govern compensation for workers and their families, including the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and general maritime laws. The DOHSA specifically applies to the victims of vessel and aviation accidents that occur more than 12 nautical miles from United States shores.
In 1953, the United States government enacted the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to extend the protections of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to workers on offshore platforms on the Outer Continental Shelf.
These protections include compensation for medical costs, disability payments and rehabilitation costs for workers injured on the OCS, as well as death benefits for families of workers who have been killed. Eligible workers can claim these benefits even if they were at fault for the accident that cause the injuries.
This law gives crewmembers of a vessel the right to recover for injuries caused by the unseaworthiness of a vessel, and the right to receive medical and living expenses in the form of maintenance and cure payments.
Maintenance and Cure is a right based in General Maritime Law. Any seaman who is injured or becomes ill while in service to a vessel has the right to receive maintenance and cure until reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI) or returns to work.
Compensation For Workers Injured While Working a Maritime Job
The type and amount of compensation you may be able to recover after a maritime accident depends on many factors, including the nature of your job, the specific maritime law your claim falls under, and the severity of your injuries. Compensation may include:
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Pursuing a Maritime Accident Claim
The maritime industry is essential to the strength and growth of this country and is the lifeblood of our economy here in the Gulf Coast. While the recent downturn in the Oil & Gas Industry has jeopardized many of our jobs, for those who have kept their jobs, it has become even more difficult to perform them safely with companies sacrificing safety by cutting corners to save money.
During times like these, it is of the utmost importance to know your rights as a maritime worker. In our country, seamen are wards of the court, which means they enjoy special protections because of their exposure to the perils of the sea and dangers of performing their duties so far from their homes for extended periods of time and having to rely on their employers to provide a safe place to work.
“Do I need a maritime attorney?” It’s a question workers should ask when injured offshore. Unfortunately, many don’t. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, the Jones Act allows you to sue your employer for sustaining a work injury that is their fault. Determining whether a maritime worker is a Jones Act seaman is a case by case analysis that requires an experienced maritime lawyer. Click the link above to learn more.
First of all, you are not required to see a company doctor, but you should never refuse medical treatment as this can be used against you later in the case. However, you are entitled to see the doctor of your choosing regardless of whether you have already seen a doctor that your company sent you to. Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to ensure that your treating physician is a doctor not affiliated with your company. Click the link above to learn more.
While we can’t say for certain whether this is possible, we feel strongly that this should NOT be a deciding factor in pursuing your right to compensation after a maritime injury. There are laws that protect seamen and other maritime workers from being blacklisted, and the courts have ruled (in Pino v. Protection Maritime Insurance Company and other cases) that blacklisting or blackballing offshore workers is illegal. In addition, when asked for a reference, past employers are not legally permitted to discuss the fact that you filed a claim against the company. Click the link above to learn more.
If you are a maritime worker injured while on the job, there are many advantages to seeking legal representation from an experienced offshore injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident takes place. There are statutes of limitations for filing a maritime injury claim under the Jones Act and other maritime laws. If you wait too long to file a claim, you may find yourself unable to seek compensation for the damages caused by your injuries. The statutes of limitations vary, depending on which laws apply in your case. Click the link above to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions for Our Maritime Lawyers
What are my rights if I have been injured offshore?
The truth is, injured offshore workers have more rights than they realize. You have a right to
* an attorney,
* independent medical care,
* to have medical bills paid,
* to not talk,
and to recover.
Who’s responsible for maritime injuries caused by defective products or equipment?
Claims involving injuries caused by defective maritime products and equipment can often be hard to prove, especially when the items were purchased through a distributor or retailer rather than the manufacturer.
Under maritime law, the manufacturers are generally responsible for any injuries caused by their products. However, the distributor may also share some liability if it can be shown that they knew their merchandise contained defective parts. Employers can be held liable as well, if there is evidence that they failed to inspect or properly maintain their equipment.
How long do maintenance and cure benefits last under the Jones Act?
The injured seaman is entitled to collect these benefits until a physician determines the injured worker has reached a point called “maximum medical improvement.” If an employer refuses to pay maintenance and cure benefits, the injured seaman has a right to file a lawsuit to recover these benefits.
I work inland on a river or lake. Do the same laws apply to me?
Louisiana’s many rivers are the lifeblood of the state’s economy. At any given time, there is a steady stream of vessels — from fishing and casino boats to cargo ships and oil tankers — making their way up and down the gently flowing river waters. Some of the nation’s busiest ports are located along the Mississippi River. The rivers provide employment to thousands of Louisiana’s citizens.
Workers injured on Louisiana’s rivers, lakes and inland waterways may qualify to collect federal benefits under the Jones Act and other maritime laws.
How long do Jones Act lawsuits take to resolve?
Jones Act lawsuits can often take a long time to resolve due to the varying factors involved. It depends on how much factual disputes there are, the severity of the injuries sustained, how many parties are liable, potential court delays, and any potential delays due to the plaintiff and defendant.
Will I have to pay taxes on my maritime accident settlement?
In general, maritime injury settlements for physical injuries are not taxable. However, if the settlement includes damages for emotional distress, depression, or PTSD then it may be considered taxable.