Worker at sea

Maritime Accidents

Whether you're a maritime worker or a recreational boater, an accident at sea can change your life in an instant.

Our personal injury lawyers can help. The Law Offices of Richard R. Kennedy have represented maritime injury cases for over 50 years.

Learn how our injury attorneys in Lafayette, LA, can help you win the compensation you deserve after a maritime accident.

Maritime Accidents Fall Under Maritime Law

Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, is a combination of domestic and international law that relates to shipping and navigation. It can cover both accidents that occurred at sea and those at marine terminals and ports. Maritime law is a specialized field different from other types of law. For example, pursuing compensation for an injury on an oil rig will take completely different routes depending on if the rig is permanently stationary or a mobile jack-up rig. Many maritime injury cases will be tried in federal, rather than state, courts.

Attorneys Richard R. Kennedy and Richard R. Kennedy III are familiar with this specialized branch of law. If you've suffered a maritime accident, call our law firm for a free consultation at (337) 232-1934. Our firm serves Lafayette, LA, New Iberia, and surrounding communities.

The Risks of Maritime Work 

Who We Can Help

Our Lafayette, LA, attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of maritime injury cases. Maritime law covers much more than just ships at sea. In addition to ship accidents, maritime personal injury cases include:
Offshore drilling rig

Offshore Drilling Injury

If you were injured in an offshore drilling accident, your legal case can be very complex. From heavy machinery to slippery decks and fatigue, there are many circumstances that can contribute to incidents. Additionally, international waters start just three miles off of Louisiana’s coast – as a result, you may be dealing with international legislation as well as maritime law. We have nearly 50 years of practice in this unique legal arena.

Barge on fire

Rig and Barge Accidents

Barges carry hundreds of pounds of cargo, meaning workers are at risk for head trauma, spine damage, and many other types of injuries. Rigs pose additional hazards due to the high levels of flammable substances. To make matters even worse, owners and operators often overlook safety standards in an attempt to cut costs. We will fight to bring all negligent parties to justice and obtain the money you deserve.

Motorboat sinking with moored boats in background

Boating Accidents

Maritime workers are not the only ones at risk on the water. Recreational boating accidents can also have serious consequences. Our attorneys handle many types of boating incidents, including collisions, capsized vessels, jet ski accidents, and more. Our team will investigate the accident carefully to determine who was at fault. Distracted operators, inexperience, alcohol, and negligence can all contribute to boating accidents.

Injured in a Maritime Accident? Choose the Law Offices of Richard R. Kennedy

Maritime accidents can result in astronomical medical bills and put you out of work for months while you recover. Maritime workers with physically demanding jobs are hit especially hard – some are never able to return to their former line of work. If you suffered a maritime injury as a result of negligence, our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to winning the compensation you deserve. 

Whether you broke a leg falling from a faulty ship ladder or suffered a collision with an intoxicated boater, our law firm is here to help. For over 50 years, we have provided dedicated representation for personal injury victims in Lafayette, New Iberia, and the surrounding communities. For a free consultation with our injury attorneys, contact us online or call our office at: 

(337) 232-1934

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Excellent experience!

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Richard is a fantastic attorney! He and his staff were incredible about keeping me well informed about my case and making sure that I got the absolute best settlement possible.

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Compensation for Maritime Workers The Jones Act vs. the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)

The Jones Act

This legislation allows those injured while working on seagoing vessels to file injury claims against their employers and the vessel owners. Claiming damages under the Jones Act can be quite complex. Workers must prove that they contributed to the function of the vessel, and also establish a significant connection to the maritime craft in question. We can help you navigate these laws and obtain the money you deserve.


This act provides compensation and medical benefits to injured maritime employees who are not crew members. It covers longshoremen, dock and harbor workers, shipbuilders, and others who work adjacent to sea-based vessels. While the Jones Act allows employees to sue their employer for negligence, the LHWCA is a form of federal workers’ compensation, and the employee does not have to prove fault. 

Causes of Maritime Accidents

Slips and Falls

Ship decks and oil rig platforms can be slick, and become even more dangerous if a negligent owner does not enforce deck cleanliness and safety standards.


Owners are required to ensure their vessels are seaworthy, meaning all standard equipment must be provided and maintained in good condition. Unseaworthy vessels are more likely to be involved in accidents. 


Flammable cargo, fuel leaks, faulty wiring, overheated engines, and mechanical failures can all lead to fires. The cramped conditions of a vessel can cause more accidents as workers rush to put out the flames. 

Inadequate Crew

In addition to adequate equipment, maritime law requires that vessels have sufficient crew members for the purpose of the vessel. Too few or poorly trained crew members can cause accidents. 

Personnel Transfers

Personnel moving on and off the vessel via gangplanks or personnel baskets are the cause of many accidents, especially in inclement weather conditions and rough seas. 


Collisions can occur between vessels in poor weather, or in busy ports or shipping lanes. Inexperienced or overworked crew, navigation errors, and malfunctioning equipment can all contribute. 


Cranes may handle loads weighing hundreds or thousands of pounds, making any error extremely dangerous. Faulty winches, fatigued or poorly trained operators, and stormy seas are all safety hazards.

"Honest, straight forward attorney that explained everything about the legal process concerning my case. I never felt pressured to accept any offer that was made on my case, I was allowed to decide what I would accept. If I ever needed an attorney again, he would be the one I would choose. I trust him so much I have recommended him to others that I know." Dwight Johnson, 5-Star Review
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The Law Offices of Richard R. Kennedy

Richard R. Kennedy and Richard R. Kennedy III can help you and your family recover the compensation you deserve after a personal injury. Our attorneys have been recognized by:

  • Super Lawyers®
  • The American Board of Trial Advocates
  • The National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • The American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell® (AV Preeminent® Rating)

You can schedule a consultation at our office in Lafayette, LA, by contacting us online or by calling (337) 232-1934.

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Lafayette Office

309 Polk St
Lafayette, LA 70501

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