For decades, Louisiana’s maritime job market has been, if you will pardon the pun, fueled by the petrochemical industry. But in recent years the market has been growing for renewable sources of energy, such as wind power. Will this mean a decline in maritime jobs? Not necessarily.
In fact, offshore wind turbines are becoming increasingly popular, and these require maritime workers. Offshore wind farms consist of large wind turbines that stand atop platforms in the ocean. By placing these turbines offshore, developers can avoid some of the hassles and expenses that come with building the devices on land. However, building offshore also comes with many legal issues and financial risks.
Offshore wind farms fall into an area where federal and state laws and regulations on power and utilities combine with federal and international maritime and admiralty law. As with offshore oil drilling, building and maintaining offshore wind farms requires many workers whose jobs fall under the umbrella of the Jones Act and other maritime law.
Among other things, the Jones Act controls how injured workers recover benefits after they have been injured on the job. While the purpose of the system is the same as the purpose of Louisiana’s workers’ compensation system, the Jones Act’s way of helping injured workers is very different.
While workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, the Jones Act requires an injured worker to prove that the employer did something wrong that contributed to the injury. This makes the process take on some of the aspects of a traditional personal injury lawsuit. It can be very important to have the help of an attorney when making a claim under the Jones Act, and especially the help of an attorney with experience in maritime law.