Understanding Maritime Law

Maritime law is a special body of law that provides legal rights and remedies to those who suffer an injury at sea. Maritime law is made up of a complicated myriad of federal statutes, regulations and court precedent. At Broussard & David, our Lafayette maritime lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to help you fully understand how maritime law applies to your case.

A worker who suffers an injury at sea typically has a means of legal recourse under maritime law. When a maritime worker suffers an injury in the scope of his or her employment, several federal statutes come into play. A lawyer will engage in a fact-sensitive inquiry to determine whether a federal statute applies to your case. For example, the Jones Act only applies to workers who qualify for "seaman" status. On the other hand, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act applies to many different types of workers who help load, unload, build and repair vessels.

Depending on which statute applies, the statute will trigger certain rights and obligations, as the maritime attorneys at our Lafayette firm can explain to you. A worker will have a right to compensation either automatically or by filing a lawsuit. Under the Jones Act, a seaman has a right to maintenance and cure benefits regardless of fault, which will cover medical expenses and a daily allowance for living. The Jones Act also creates legal causes of action against an employer or vessel owner. If the Jones Act does not apply, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act may apply and provide an injured worker with automatic workers' compensation benefits.

When an employer becomes liable under federal law, the employer is legally required to make payments to the injured worker in certain circumstances. If an employer refuses to make payments or evades its legal responsibility, an injured worker may need to take legal action against his or her employer. In this scenario, an experienced maritime lawyer can help protect your legal rights.

In addition to federal statutory law, general maritime law also provides certain rights and causes of actions that are rooted in common law for all individuals who suffer an injury at sea. These causes of action are rooted in court precedent and have no statutory basis. If a person fails to meet the definition of a "seaman" or maritime worker under federal statute, an attorney will also consider whether general maritime law applies. Furthermore, general maritime law can provide additional remedies for individuals who do qualify for coverage under federal statutes.

After an injury at sea, it is important to be fully informed about your legal rights. A Lafayette maritime attorney can help you understand your legal rights and protect any rights of recovery you may have against your employer or a vessel owner. After an injury at sea, do not hesitate to learn about your legal rights.

At Broussard & David, our experienced lawyers give our clients the attention they need to fully understand their legal rights. We offer a personalized approach to legal representation and ensure our clients are completely informed throughout the litigation process. For a complimentary consultation with a maritime lawyer in the Lafayette area, contact Broussard & David at (888) 337-2323 (toll-free) or (337) 337-2323.

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