A Louisiana court recently heard and adjudicated an interesting case involving maritime law and the Jones Act. It is of particular interest because, while the plaintiff was awarded a seven-figure settlement, his Jones Act portion of the claim was denied.
The case involved a 22-year-old Louisiana resident who was transferring a generator between a crew boat and a barge. He suffered both spinal and head injuries when the two vessels drifted apart during the transfer, causing the worker to fall into the water and be struck by the plummeting portable generator.
Last month, the judge presiding over the Eastern District of Louisiana Court heard arguments related to the boat captain’s negligence during the equipment transfer. Plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the incident, as well as needing 28 staples to close his head wound. He also may need future surgeries in addition to the May 2017 spinal fusion and “C4/5, C5/6 anterior cervical discectomy” he already endured to fix the damage.
The case centered around the Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) and the Jones Act claims of the injured worker. Because the injured man was a laborer on a construction crew at the time of his disabling injury, he had the right to file under the LHWCA. However, because the court determined that, at the time of his accident and injury, he was not a seaman, his Jones Act claim was denied.
Maritime cases are often quite complex. It can be difficult to discern a clear path to recovery, which is why it’s so important to have a knowledgeable Louisiana maritime attorney review it and discuss your options for financial recovery.