Maritime workers in Louisiana are often at risk for on-the-job injuries due to the negligence of those who hire them. A maritime worker is filing suit against a Louisiana shipbuilding company for mental and physical injuries he suffered while working. The suit alleges negligence and violation of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This federal law requires that those who employ maritime workers provide workers’ compensation to those that are injured while on-the-job. Those who have suffered a dockworker injury are protected by this law.The man claims that he was negligently exposed to toxic fumes or loud noises while aboard various vessels belonging to the defendant. As a result, he reports serious injuries leading to permanent disability. The man also claims lost wages, medical expenses, mental anguish and pain.
Maritime law is intended to protect those who work at sea and those who work with boats in general. Crew members, as well as employees who are not considered seamen, have certain rights that ship captains and companies have a duty to protect. Seamen, longshoremen, shipbuilders, ship repairmen, dock workers and other employees may be covered under either the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
In order to file a successful lawsuit, the maritime worker will have to prove certain elements. First, they will need to prove that they are in fact a maritime worker under law. Under the Jones Act, workers will need to prove that they are seamen who help a vessel fulfill its mission. Dock workers or other workers who perform their duties on land are not covered by the Jones Act, but may be covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Next, the worker will have to demonstrate that they were injured while on duty. If these elements can be proven, the worker will recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses and other costs.
Source: Louisiana Record, “Maritime worker blames vessel owner for injuries,” Michael Abella, Aug. 25, 2016