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Offshore Accident & Maritime Injury Lawyer in Zachary

A thick rope coiled up on a dock near Zachary, Louisiana

From the oil drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to the inland ports of the Mississippi, in industries as varied as shipping, oil and gas, fishing, and more, thousands of Louisianans are employed on or around the waters of our state. These jobs are well-paying, skilled jobs that bring millions in revenue every year.

However, maritime jobs are notoriously difficult and dangerous. While some of the accidents aboard a maritime vessel are the fault of no one but bad luck or weather, far too many are the direct result of negligence, poor maintenance, or carelessness. If you’ve been injured due to negligence on the water, or if you’ve lost a loved one that way, you could be entitled to financial compensation.

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What Causes Maritime Injuries and Offshore Accidents?

Negligence or a lack of proper safety protocols have been found to be directly responsible for around 80% of all maritime accidents—meaning 80% of offshore accidents are preventable. If you’ve injured while working on an oil platform, at a dock, on a fishing boat, or elsewhere in the maritime industry, chances are there’s someone you can hold responsible.

Most of the injuries suffered at sea are catastrophic injuries, which can be extremely debilitating. The main accidents and incidents contributing to maritime injuries include

  • Malfunctioning, unmaintained heavy machinery
  • Inadequate safety protocols, including missing or inadequate personal protective equipment and lax enforcement
  • Long work hours and overworking resulting in fatigued staff
  • Over-exerted, inexperienced, or improperly-trained staff
  • Reckless behavior, including alcohol and drug abuse
  • Falling overboard
  • Machine, plant, or vessel explosions
  • Piracy

Common Injuries on the Water

The silhouette of the bow of a large ship and a rope tying it to a dock at dawn

Shipyard workers are more than twice as likely to suffer an injury than their land-based counterparts, according to a report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Many of the following injuries are debilitating, and can keep a seaman or longshoreman from returning to work for months or even years:

What Laws Protect Injured Maritime Workers?

Even though maritime jobs are among the most dangerous in the country, the workers in those jobs had no legal protections until 1920. In that year, the United States federal government passed a number of laws providing seamen and their families an avenue to recover compensation in the event of an on-the-job injury.

Jones Act

The Jones Act was the first law of its kind, bringing much-needed accountability to a previously-unregulated shipping industry. It allows workers who are qualified as “seamen” to seek compensation from the ship owners and runners who are responsible for their injuries due to negligence, recklessness, or an unseaworthy vessel.

To qualify for Jones Act protections, a worker must spend at least 30% of their working time aboard a vessel. Most shipping jobs meet this requirement, as do a number of others; but to be sure that you can seek compensation through the Jones Act, you should talk to an experienced maritime injury lawyer.

Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

While the Jones Act only covers ship workers, the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) protects workers in shipyards and on docks to seek compensation for their workplace injuries. Shipyards can be workplaces just as dangerous as sea-fairing vessels, and longshoremen and other harbor employees are at great risk for personal injury.

Under the LHWCA, the following types of workers are empowered to seek financial compensation from those responsible for their workplace injuries:

  • Harbor construction workers
  • Longshore workers
  • Ship breakers
  • Ship builders
  • Ship repair workers

Death on the High Seas Act

The Jones Act and LHWCA only apply to employees of negligent companies and other actors. The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), however, applies to anyone killed by negligence over international waters, including cruise ship and airline passengers.

If your loved one was killed on the high seas—that is, further than 12 nautical miles from shore—you could be eligible to recover damages related to their funeral costs, pain and suffering, and other costs.

Why You Need an Experienced Maritime Injury Lawyer

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Admiralty law—that is, law of the land—and maritime law are actually quite different. Maritime courts have their own judges and their own protocols, and many lawyers who are perfectly capable when dealing with land-based legal problems are lost in this area.

If you’ve been injured in or around the water, you need a dedicated maritime injury attorney to help you recover the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled. The Zachary maritime injury lawyers with Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys are experienced with maritime injury cases and are ready to help you.

We’ve helped thousands of clients over our 679+ years of combined legal experience, so give us a call today at 225.888.8888 for a free consultation. Your maritime lawyer will listen to your case and give advice on how to best proceed with your claim.

Zachary Offshore Injury Lawyer Near Me


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