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Louisiana Maritime Law Blog

Lack of lifeboat maintenance leads to devastating accidents

Lifeboats have been a crucial part for large vessels for over a century. If they weren’t present during the sinking of the RMS Titanic, the outcome would have been even more devastating than it already was. These days, Louisiana requires nearly every large commercial, transportation and military ship to have lifeboats or life rafts that allow for emergency evacuations.

Even though training for emergencies has gotten significantly better since the 1900s, there are still a few problems that arise in the process. While lifeboats were created to save lives, poor training or communication failures have led to several devastating injuries or deaths over the years.

Southeast Louisiana ranks first among Jones Act job regions

A report recently released by the Transportation Institute captures how Louisiana's first district is the leading area for Jones Act jobs in the entire United States. There are some 33,590 individuals employed in these maritime roles in the southeastern Louisiana region.

These individuals work in a variety of fields including the oil and gas industry, in transporting goods or in production. Their work generates nine billion dollars in revenue for the state every year.

Common injuries suffered by dock workers: It's not an easy job

There are perks to being a dock worker. You get to work outside and use your hands instead of sitting behind a desk in an office. However, there are also some serious risks involved in this work.

Common dock worker injuries

Can an injured cruise boat worker pursue compensation?

Having a job on a cruise ship can be an exciting way to live your life. These jobs can come with long hours, few days off and exhausting job responsibilities. Nevertheless, for those who choose this kind of career at sea, there are usually enough perks and sufficient pay to the hard work worthwhile. That's why suffering an injury while working at sea can be so devastating.

Sometimes, cruise boat employees suffer such severe injuries at work that they're never able to go back to their seafaring jobs again. In these cases, the injured workers might be able to use the Jones Act to pursue financial benefits to help pay for their injuries, lost income and other expenses and financial losses that resulted from their injuries.

2 Louisiana oil spill workers die when their work boat capsizes

A U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson announced on Jan. 19 that they had suspended their search for two workers who went missing after the boat that they had been working on capsized on Jan. 16.

The female and male workers were reportedly on the boat nearby Mile 18 of the Mississippi River near the Louisiana town of Boothville on the morning of Jan. 16 when, for some unknown reason, their 32-foot workboat began sinking.

Common causes of falls on barges

One of the most common work injuries in almost every industry is falling. Every year there are thousands of workers who end up with a broken bone or head trauma after tripping and landing badly. They can be attributed to reckless behavior, dangerous working conditions or neglectful employers. Maritime workers are in danger of falling constantly because they work outside and have to deal with slippery and wet surfaces.

Barges in particular have a unique structure to them that can make it easier for workers more likely to fall and be out of work for months or years. Despite getting better at decreasing fall hazards in the last couple of decades, we still have plenty of workers brutally injured or killed just because of one slip. Barge crew members and their respective families should be aware of the following fall hazards that often lead them to become victims.

Dealing with an injury as a Louisiana sailor

If you are suffering from an injury you got working as a sailor, you may be unable to work for a certain period of time and lose wages. You might be wondering whether you will be entitled to receive financial compensation to help with the costs related to your injury.

The law differs substantially when it comes to the maritime industry in comparison to the rights of employees in other fields. This is why the process of seeking compensation for injured sailors can potentially be complicated. However, this should never be a reason to refrain from taking legal action. The Jones Act has legislation in place that protects ship employees and enables them to seek compensation after at-work injuries on a ship.

Which cruise ship workers most risk being hurt on the job?

Aside from the captain and others who navigate the boat, there are two types of employees who work on cruise ships: artists who have aspirations of being discovered by the entertainment industry and employees who hail from poor countries looking to see the world and to support their families. The latter is most likely to get injured while working aboard a cruise ship.

One of the reasons that international staff members are likely to get hurt on the job is because they're often forced to work long hours for very little pay. Most cruise ship companies purposefully recruit workers to take on janitorial, restaurant, and mechanical roles from among some of the poorest countries in the world. They do this to keep their operational costs low.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act: 3 facts

1. What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA)?

This is a federal, not state, act that gives many maritime workers and civilian employees on military bases protection if they get injured while on the job. It was written into effect in 1927. It was amended in 1972 and again in 1984. 

Supreme Court case could impact Jones Act

The Jones Act serves many purposes for seamen who need protection while working an essential job in the United States, among which is compensation for on-the-job injuries. Now, a new case will analyze if those maritime workers have access to compensation beyond the cost of said injuries if an unstable work vessel caused their suffering.  

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Batterton v. Dutra Group, which raises the question whether punitive damages are available to seamen covered by the Jones Act for a claim in which a vessel’s “unseaworthiness” is the cause of an injury. 

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