Louisiana has more opportunities for maritime work than almost anywhere else in the country. When considering the miles of coastline, the Mississippi River delta, the position on the gulf and the fact that the state boasts one of the highest quantities of inland waterways in the USA, it makes sense that there are often plenty of jobs available for seamen.
With these opportunities often come risks. Luckily, legislators have drafted various laws to offset the danger of various maritime jobs, such as tugboat operation, fishing or oil-rig work. However, the rights these laws protect may sometimes take some work to exercise on an individual basis. Getting the maximum benefit under the Jones Act, for example, could be more complicated than it seems.
As illustrated in this article on FindLaw, one of the first stumbling blocks in many maritime injury cases is the evidence collection process. Negligence is an important concept for both the claimant and the defense in these types of cases. However, the defending party often has almost complete control over the physical facilities where the accident took place. While it is unethical, agents of the defense could conceivably erase evidence of negligence if it were not documented immediately and properly at the time of the injury.
Another common issue comes in knowing what benefits are appropriate for a given injury. The Jones Act is a complex piece of legislation when considering relevant case law in addition to the language of the act itself; there are several types of injuries it could potentially cover.
Interpreting and acting on the Jones Act is often no problem for insurance or shipping company legal teams. When up against these types of professionals, it could be challenging at best to navigate a claim without relevant training and experience.