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Louisiana Maritime Law Blog

How to handle an injury working as a longshoreman

Working as a longshoreman is a very rewarding career. Not only are you providing for yourself and your family, you also get to enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer in Louisiana. You are on a dock by the water or on a boat almost every day of the week, which means you get to work outside in some of the most beautiful areas of the state. But, what if you get injured? Here's how to handle an injury working as a longshoreman.

Suffering an injury while working on a boat in Louisiana is never an easy situation to handle. It is imperative that you report the accident and subsequent injury immediately to a supervisor. Even though you technically have 30 days to report, it's still best to report it as soon as you can, so you do not lose out on any workers' compensation benefits owed to you.

Boating safety tips for when a storm strikes

Even with modern weather tracking capabilities, a storm can still strike with very little warning. This is one of the most dangerous times to work in the maritime industry. It is absolutely critical that everyone on the boat knows exactly what to do to stay safe.

With that in mind, here are a few important boating safety tips:

  • Stow everything that is not needed and not strapped down. In a storm, having loose gear sliding around the deck only increases the danger. A ship that has been properly cared for should be nearly ready for a storm at all times.
  • Use safety gear. Do not underestimate the storm. In some cases, devices like harnesses are used along with life jackets. Always use the proper gear, even if you feel like the storm is not that dangerous. Things can change in an instant.
  • Slow down. While the boat may be able to outrun a storm when you know it is coming, by the time it hits, it is too late. Going slowly can smooth out the ride and make it possible to navigate safely through the storm.
  • Be cautious around metal. Avoid it as much as you can if there is a chance of a lightning strike. The crew should all find a safe place to hunker down and wait out the storm. Some experts suggest simply using the boat's cockpit.

Repealing the Jones Act: A possibility in the future

As you may know, there is a national shortage of truck drivers. Why is this important to maritime law? It's ships that may need to take over transportation on America's waterways.

New drivers aren't joining the trucking field, and that means that there needs to be other ways to transport goods around the country. Shipping goods on vessels is one option.

Senators call for reinstatement of oil rig worker protections

Some Democratic senators in Washington, D.C., are reportedly concerned about how lax the federal government is being enforcing laws meant to protect offshore oil and gas workers from getting hurt.

In 2010, 11 oil rig workers were killed in the Gulf of Mexico. While the U.S. Department of the Interior under President Barack Obama's responded by issuing new rules for dealing will well-casing pressure and blowout preventers. These rules were expected to help protect offshore oil workers from getting injured.

Got carpal tunnel? Try these!

On July 18 we talked about injuries that commercial fishermen typically suffer. One of these injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an inflammatory disorder that affects the hands and fingers. 

After repeated use and strain- such as ripping out a fish's gills-  the median nerve of the hand is compressed. This can lead to limited range of motion and pain in the fingers and hands.  

These injuries are more common among commercial fishermen

As someone who works in the commercial fishing industry, you should be aware that there are hazards in your workplace. From falling overboard a ship to hurting your back while lifting heavy loads, you're exposed to many risks on the job.

There are some injuries that are more common to people in your industry. For instance, repetitive motions can lead to repetitive motion injuries like tendinitis or carpal tunnel, both of which can be extremely painful and debilitating.

Can a suicide attempt be part of a workers' compensation claim?

If someone's injuries from a work-related accident are so severe and so painful that the victim ultimately feels compelled to take his or her own life, should the resulting injuries from the suicide attempt be part of the claim for workers' compensation?

According to the review board that oversaw a case filed under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, it should.

What are maritime workers entitled to after an injury?

Vessel owners are responsible for paying for the unearned wages, maintenance and cure relative to injuries that happen when a seaman is providing a service on the job. Injured parties who can show there was negligence or unseaworthiness on the part of the employer may also seek damages similarly to other types of personal injury victims.

As someone who has been hurt on the job, your primary concern should be recovery. Focus on getting the medical care you need and your health. Your claim against your employer should provide compensation that will cover your lost wages and other benefits.

Are all personal injury attorneys the same?

It may seem that personal injury attorneys are all the same because their main mission, first and foremost, is to get compensation for their clients. In addition, all personal injury attorneys must do two things:

  1. Adhere to both ethical rules professional codes
  2. “Pass the bar” examination to practice law, file complaints, argue cases, offer legal advice and so forth

Offshore workers have high risks of fatal injuries

If you work offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, you already know the dangers that you face before you even set foot on the oil rig. While major disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion garner the bulk of the media's attention, most work-related fatalities in the offshore oil and gas industries are related to transportation events.

Offshore workers typically arrive at the oil rigs aboard chartered helicopters, which can crash into the Gulf. This makes these tragedies the fatal events that occur most frequently in the industry.

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