Lake Charles Maritime Injury Lawyer

Lake Charles Maritime Injury Lawyer

Lake Charles Maritime Injury Attorney

The waterways of Louisiana, and particularly Lake Charles, are a critical part of the economy and recreation in the region. There’s a lot of action and industry involved on these waters, and that means maritime injuries will happen occasionally. Some of these injuries are a product of negligence and are preventable. When this happens, a Lake Charles maritime injury lawyer may be able to help the injured party seek compensation.

At Sanchez Burke, L.L.C., we understand the complicated nature of maritime law related to seeking compensation for injuries. Our team is prepared to help identify the appropriate means for seeking compensation for your injuries. Our experience in negotiating fair settlements for our clients means we may be able to get your restitution without needing to go to court. However, if litigation is necessary, then we have no hesitation in taking that approach as well.

Lake Charles Maritime Injury Lawyer

Kinds of Maritime Accident Injuries

The Lake Charles area, and Louisiana more broadly, has some of the busiest, most challenging waterways in the whole country. The intra-coastal canal and Gulf intra-coastal waterways are home to significant amounts of maritime industry, but that also means that there is the possibility of injuries for those involved in these areas and activities. Some of the maritime accidents that could cause injuries include:

  • Tugboat Accidents – The job of tugboats is particularly challenging, and even experienced operators can run into issues. Tugboats can be involved in a variety of dangerous situations and are a regular source of injuries for those working on them. In particular, visibility issues related to such a small vessel around much larger ones can be a dangerous dynamic.
  • Barge Accidents – Barges are very difficult to maneuver, and this lack of maneuverability can cause accidents. Additionally, because barge towing equipment is used to move the barges, there is a risk of faulty equipment that can quickly create dangerous scenarios for those working on the vessel.
  • Grounding Issues – Grounding a ship can lead to violent jarring. This could create an incident with loose equipment causing injuries or even workers being thrown. Dangerous injuries from sharp objects or very heavy objects are a risk, particularly to the head.
  • Dredging Injuries – Dredging is a complicated process, and unfortunately, the more complicated something is, the more points at which something could go wrong. Because of that, dredging is a risk for a number of different injuries, and it’s important that the employers involved take every precaution to protect their employees.
  • Crane Mishaps – Cranes both on ship and at ports are used to lift heavy objects. If something goes wrong, it can be a very dangerous situation for those around. Something like a faulty cable, winch, or electronic equipment could cause the operator to lose control of what they are carrying. Additionally, an operator could make a negligent error, putting those in the area at risk.

Seeking Compensation for Maritime Injuries

There are a few different ways that someone who suffers a maritime injury can seek compensation. Workers are typically not eligible to seek compensation under personal injury law and are instead required to operate under workers’ compensation laws. However, maritime workers are often governed under a separate set of injury compensation laws. There are a few different criteria that must be met, though, to understand what laws are relevant.

One of the important distinctions is whether or not the worker is considered a “seaman” and then qualifies to seek restitution under the Jones Act. Generally, a seaman is a person who spends most of their time working aboard a vessel as a part of the crew or as a captain. For the most part, the vessel will include any boat or ship that is “in navigation,” meaning it’s afloat, capable of moving, in operation, and on navigable waters.

There are three ways that a seaman can seek compensation:

  • Under the Jones Act, they may seek restitution from their employer if there was any negligence that is found to have contributed even just 1% to their injuries.
  • The owner of the vessel could be liable if the injuries were contributed to by the vessel being unseaworthy, meaning that any part of the vessel was not fit for its function.
  • Additionally, a maritime employer is required to pay for “maintenance and cure” no matter who caused the injury. Maintenance being costs such as mortgages, utilities, food, and a few other expenses, and cure is the medical expenses the seaman incurs.

Maritime workers who are not “seaman” are able to see compensation for their injuries under the Longshore Act, which operates similarly to standard workers’ compensation. This will usually apply to longshoremen, dock workers, harbor workers, and those working in shipyards and shipping terminals.

What a Lake Charles Maritime Injury Lawyer Can Help With

Hiring a Lake Charles maritime injury lawyer can be crucial to ensuring that you get the compensation that you deserve. Our experience and knowledge of the law can be vital to making sure that compensation is sought through the proper means and that your case is presented skillfully. Throughout the process, we act as your representative and advocate.

We first investigate the circumstances that caused your injuries. This can help us identify what method of seeking compensation is going to be appropriate for your circumstances, as well as prepare to argue your side in litigation if necessary.

In many cases, it is possible to avoid litigation and instead get compensation through a settlement. This often has the advantage of being a quicker process that avoids some of the uncertainty involved in taking a claim to court. We are often able to negotiate fair and full compensation for our clients, but if it is necessary to go through litigation, we are prepared to represent you through that process as well.

Maritime Law FAQs

Q: What if an Injured Maritime Worker Is Not a Seaman?

A: If an injured maritime worker is not a seaman, then they are likely going to be covered by the Longshore Act. This Act generally covers those who aren’t a part of the crew of a vessel but who work near or even on the water. For instance, harbor workers, longshoremen, and other workers in shipyards, docks, and shipping terminals would likely qualify to have their injuries addressed according to the Longshore Act. The provisions of this Act are similar to standard workers’ compensation programs.

Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Maritime Injury Claim?

A: How long you have to file a maritime injury claim will vary depending on the specifics of your situation. Generally, maritime injuries under the Jones Act will need to be filed within three years. However, this could shrink to just two years if a government entity is involved. Under the Longshore Act, the statute of limitations is typically just a year.

There are also several factors that could impact the timeline, so it’s important to speak with a lawyer soon after your accident to understand your timeline.

Q: What Should I Look for in a Lake Charles Maritime Injury Lawyer?

A: There are a few things you should look for in a Lake Charles maritime injury lawyer. One of these is someone who has a strong understanding of the relevant laws. Maritime injuries are complex, and you want someone who is familiar with those complexities and how to handle them. Additionally, you should look for someone you feel comfortable and confident with. Representing you is a significant responsibility, and you should work with someone who respects that responsibility.

Q: How Does the Jones Act Define Negligence?

A: The Jones Act defines negligence based on the failures of a maritime employer to provide what is expected of them under the Act. A maritime employer under the Jones Act is required to provide a reasonably safe place for seamen to work. They are also expected to maintain the vessel in a reasonably safe condition through care and upkeep.

A failure on the part of the employer to do either of these things will result in the employer’s liability, even if they are found to be just 1% responsible for the accident.

We Help Those With Maritime Injuries Seek Compensation

Maritime injuries are particularly complicated. The processes involved in maritime work are often unfamiliar to those without close involvement, which can make demonstrating negligence challenging. The laws themselves and what legal process should be used to seek compensation are also confusing. The right legal team can be critical to someone seeking compensation for their Lake Charles maritime injuries.

At Sanchez Burke, L.L.C., we understand the unique challenges associated with maritime injuries. The law involved may be complicated, but we know how to investigate the situation and seek compensation under the appropriate laws.

In many cases, we can negotiate a fair settlement that gets you the restitution that you deserve, but we are prepared to help make clear to the court the negligence that resulted in your injuries if that is the route we need to take. If you have suffered a maritime injury and are wondering what your options are, contact our team today.

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