Louisiana residents who work as Merchant Marines should be familiar with the Merchant Marines Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act. The legislation provides various protections for mariners who sustain injuries while at sea as maritime law does not allow them to qualify for workers' compensation.
Louisianians who work on ships sometimes suffer serious injuries in accidents. Workers who work in harbors and onshore in jobs that support the ships are also sometimes seriously injured in accidents. These harbor and onshore workers are generally covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act instead of the state's workers' compensation law.
Maritime workers in Louisiana should understand how the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act can assist them if they are injured on the job. Shipyard workers, longshoremen and some other non-seaman marine workers can use the law to obtain financial assistance for lost wages and medical expenses that resulted from their work-related injury or illness.
Louisiana residents should be aware of the efforts that are being made to change the Death on the High Act, or DOSHA. Legislation has been introduced in Congress that will enhance the rights of surviving family members who are pursing compensation when the negligence of a cruise line results in the death of a loved one at sea. It can prevent the companies from using an archaic law to avoid taking responsibilities for their part in the incidents.
Louisiana shipping employees may be interested to learn that the widow of a man who died when the boat he was working on capsized during a hurricane is campaigning to have a safety system put into place. This safety system, which the widow is calling the Hamm Alert, would keep the ships in port when major storms are on the horizon.
In Louisiana, certain workers who work on marine vessels are protected under the Jones Act, a federal law under which workers may sue their employers. There have been several opinions issued by the federal courts in Louisiana about whether or not punitive damages might be available to seamen who sue third parties that are not their employers, but more recent changes may bring the debate to an end.
The Jones Act was created to ensure that employers of individuals who worked at sea were held accountable for negligence that resulted in their employees being harmed or killed. People who are classified as seafarers, which generally encompasses those who spend a significant amount of time working on a vessel, are eligible for compensation under the Jones Act.
Louisiana residents following the El Faro container ship sinking may be interested to learn that it was reported that the ship's "black box" has evidence showing that the 33-person crew did everything they could to keep the vessel afloat. The El Faro sank in 2015 as it was heading to Puerto Rico from Jacksonville.
A man filed a lawsuit against his employer after being involved in an alleged accident. The worker is a crew member and floor-hand of a vessel owned by Moncla Marine LLC in Louisiana. He filed a lawsuit on Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana after allegedly sustaining multiple injuries.
Louisiana residents may be interested to learn about a drowning death involving a small dinner cruise in California. On Sept. 4, a 59-year-old man on the Papagallo II dinner cruise in Morro Bay fell overboard for unknown reasons. The man was rescued and transported to the hospital, but he died on Sept. 6.