The 905(b) claim, which comes from Section 905(b) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), provides another way for injured maritime workers who do not qualify as seamen (and do not have the protections of the Jones Act) to recover for their injuries.
For workers not employed by the vessel owner, a 905(b) claim is really just a regular tort claim. However, for employees of the owner of the vessel, the 905(b) claim may give the injured worker an exception to the general rule that the LHWCA protects employers from tort claims by their employees. Workers engaged in longshoring and maintenance operations may be able to bring a 905(b) claim against their employers, but those working in other maritime occupations (such as shipbuilding or repairing) may not have a claim.
Whether a maritime worker can bring a 905(b) claim against his employer can be difficult to determine, so if you have a possible claim, you should speak with a Louisiana maritime lawyer about it to understand your rights.
What Do You Have to Prove for a 905(b) Claim?
First, you must be covered by the protections of the LHWCA (click here to learn more about the LHWCA). Second, you must get hurt in connection with a vessel. Lastly, your injury must have been caused by the negligence of the vessel.
The first two elements are pretty straightforward but the third one can get complicated.
What is Vessel Negligence for a 905(b) Claim?
Vessel negligence can occur when the vessel breaches a duty owed to the workers onboard and can arise in several situations:
- When the vessel is turned over to workers with a defect;
- When the vessel owner actively participates in operations on the vessel, maintains control over the area, and has a duty to maintain a safe environment on the vessel; and
- When the vessel owner knows that a dangerous defect exists that can cause harm to a maritime worker.
What if the Injured Worker is Partially at Fault?
Like with a Jones Act claim, fault on the part of the injured worker will not bar a 905(b) claim. Instead, the maritime worker’s recovery will be reduced by his or her share of fault.
New Orleans Offshore Injury Attorney
If you’ve been involved in an accident during offshore or maritime operations, The Mahone Firm can help you. Call (504) 564-7342 today for a free consultation with a Louisiana personal injury attorney. Speaking with an attorney is the first step to protecting your rights.