You work hard for your family, dedicating your time, strength, and skills to earn a living. Many in Lafayette Parish work in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Louisiana oil fields, helping to drive one of our regions most profitable markets.
Such a career lends you the status of a maritime employee, especially if you are not permanently assigned to a particular vessel. Such vessels could include a jack-up drilling rig, a semi-submersible rig, an inland barge, a lift boat, a crew boat, or another commonly used vessel.
Generally, specialized service crew members, such as wire-line crews, casing crews, logging crews, cementing crews, fishing tool supervisors, and other workers who are called out to do limited service work on vessels, are also considered maritime employees.
If you have been injured in an offshore work accident, it is critical that you hire an attorney who is uniquely familiar with these specialized jobs and the maritime laws; by doing so, we can help you to be accurately classified by the court to maximize the recovery for you and your family.
As an attorney and former oil field engineer, Miles Matt has the technical expertise to know precisely the nature of the work and can determine who is at fault in causing the accident. When combined with the financial and economic expertise of Aaron Allen, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Matt & Allen can help to maximize the recovery for you and your family after an injury.
Types of Maritime Workers
A seaman (under the Jones Act) is an employee who spends a significant amount of time working as a crew member or captain on a vessel that is considered “in navigation.” With regards to Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry, the Jones Act extends seaman status to drill crew members such as tool pushers, drillers, derrick men, floor hands, lift boat crews, dredge, derrick and pipeline lay barge crews, and others who work on such vessels.
If you work on one of the aforementioned vessels and were injured because of the negligence of another, remember that your maritime employer must provide you with a reasonably safe place to work and keep the vessel on which you work in a reasonably safe condition.
If your employer failed to do these two things, and you were hurt as a result, you have the right to sue your employer for negligence damages.
An example of such an instance would be if the vessel you were working on when injured was considered “unseaworthy.” Unseaworthiness does not mean that a vessel can’t sail or be navigated—it simply means that it does not provide you (and other crew-members) a safe and suitable place in which to work, due to a lack of safe and suitable appliances or inadequate crew.
In this instance, the vessel owner would be liable for your injuries, even if he or she (or the company) acted reasonably.
Maintenance and cure would be another—albeit very old—aspect of maritime law. This requires that a maritime employer care for an injured seaman, regardless of who is at fault for the injury.
“Maintenance” refers to the room and board of the injured seaman as he recovers. This could include expenses such as the seaman’s rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and even food. “Cure” refers to the injured seaman’s medical expenses.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
Many maritime employees in the Louisiana offshore oil and gas industry do not qualify as Jones Act seamen. Even if you do not qualify as a Jones Act seaman, you still have rights to pursue a claim if you are injured in a maritime accident.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a federal act that governs maritime employee injuries. It covers the majority of work on or near the water for those who are not considered seamen or members of a crew or vessel. This includes, but is not limited to, longshoreman, harbor workers, and most other people who work on docks and in shipping terminals or shipyards.
Contact an Experienced Maritime Injury Attorney Today
If you have been hurt in a maritime injury, your entire life has likely been turned upside down. You’re trying to figure out how to make ends meet, support your family, keep your home, pay medical bills—and recover from an injury during this entire process.
At the Law Offices of Matt & Allen in Lafayette, Louisiana, we understand the hard times you and your family are facing after a maritime injury. You are probably not sure about what steps to take next, whom to turn to for help, or what your legal options may be. We can answer those questions and take the heavy burdens of your injury off of your shoulders, fighting for the compensation you deserve. In fact, we believe you should only be focusing on one thing after a serious maritime injury—healing.
If you have suffered a maritime injury in Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry, don’t try to tackle the situation alone. Reach out to experienced maritime injury attorneys—who have experience in the offshore oil and gas industry—to receive sound advice, practical steps to take, and a friend who will listen to the details and concerns associated with your injury.
Please call our office at 377-237-1000, or fill out the consultation request at the top of this page to contact Miles Matt, Aaron Allen, and Jason Matt. Also be sure to see if your particular question has been answered in our Frequently Asked Questions section or on our blog.
We believe you deserve to be treated fairly after an injury. Do not let your employer or its insurance company take advantage of you and your family. Let the maritime injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Matt & Allen fight for the compensation you deserve.