What is a maritime lawyer?
A maritime lawyer is an attorneys who specialize in handling injuries and accidents on navigable waters. Maritime law is a branch of law that deals with maritime activities, including shipping, boating, and fishing. Maritime lawyers protect seamen who are injured on the job, as well as those who are involved in recreational boating accident injuries. Maritime law is vast and maritime lawyers must be familiar with both federal and state laws, including issues of maintenance and cure, the Jones Act, general maritime law, unseaworthiness, wrongful death, the death on the high seas act, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. If you or someone you know has been injured in a maritime accident, you should contact a maritime lawyer to discuss your case.
What does a maritime lawyer do?
As a maritime lawyer, one of the key aspects of my job is to investigate any maritime accidents that occur offshore. Typically, this means that I need to carefully analyze the scene of the accident, gathering evidence and recording observations. Often times, this will involve visiting the site where the incident occurred in order to gather firsthand information and review material such as wreckage or damage reports. Additionally, I may work with maritime experts who can offer their expertise when it comes to issues related to maritime law and regulations. In order to determine how the accident happened, I may also conduct interviews with crew members or other individuals who were present during the incident in question. Overall, my goal is always to get a clear picture of what actually occurred so that I can help my clients seek justice and compensation for their losses.
How to a find a maritime lawyer?
When looking for a maritime lawyer, it is important to do your research and find someone who has the experience and expertise necessary to navigate maritime law.
First, start by asking around for recommendations. Other maritime professionals, such as ship captains or port masters, may know of a good maritime lawyer that they have worked with in the past.
Additionally, there are many online resources available that can help you find maritime lawyers in your area. Look for lawyers who specialize in maritime law specifically, and make sure to read through their reviews and qualifications before making any final decisions.
Once you have found a few candidates, be sure to speak with them directly about your specific case and ask for references from previous clients.
Additionally, you should look for an attorney who has a proven track record of success in admiralty and maritime cases. This can be indicated by positive client testimonials or other relevant professional accomplishments.
Finally, you should seek out a lawyer who is well-versed in the specific area of maritime law that relates to your case, such as personal injury, employment disputes, or maritime property damage. By following these tips, you can find the best maritime lawyer for your needs and rest assured that your case will be in good hands. With the right maritime lawyer on your side, you can feel confident navigating the often intricate world of maritime law.
Common causes of maritime injuries
Maritime workers are at a higher risk for injury than workers in other industries. There are many hazards present in the maritime environment, and these can often lead to serious injuries. Some of the most common causes of maritime injury include:
Falls are one of the most common causes of injury in the maritime industry and often cause seaman to suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, brain stem injury, shoulder injuries, fractured sternums, spinal cord injuries, and more. Workers may fall from heights, slip on wet or slippery surfaces, or trip over obstacles.
Exposure to hazardous materials
Maritime workers may be exposed to harmful chemicals, fumes, and other hazardous materials in environments such as containerships, offshore drilling platforms, and similar. This exposure can cause respiratory problems, burn injuries, skin irritation, and scarring and disfigurement.
Maritime workers may be injured by machinery such as cranes, winches, and conveyor belts. Workers may be caught in or crushed by machinery, or they may suffer serious complications such as crush injuries, amputations, wrongful death.
Severe weather conditions can pose a danger to maritime workers. High winds, waves, and lightning can all lead to injuries ranging from minor injuries to catastrophic injuries.
By being aware of the common causes of maritime injury, workers can take steps to protect themselves from these hazards. Wearing proper safety gear, following safe work procedures, and being alert to potential hazards can help reduce the risk of serious injury.
Questions people commonly ask a maritime lawyer
What is maritime law?
Maritime law, or admiralty law, is a complex and ever-evolving area of the law that governs a wide range of activities, including shipping, boating, fishing, and offshore drilling. It also covers environmental issues, such as pollution and maritime conservation. Maritime law is primarily governed by international treaties and conventions, as well as by the laws of individual countries. In addition to negotiation and litigation, maritime law also encompasses aspects of investigation and adjudication, such as determining liability in the event of an accident or injury. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, maritime law will continue to play an important role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of global commerce.
What is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a federal law that establishes the rules for maritime commerce in the United States. The act was named for its sponsor, Senator Wesley Jones, and it was passed in 1920. Under the Jones Act, all goods and passengers traveling by water between two points in the United States must be carried on ships that are built and registered in the United States, and operated by American citizens. The Jones Act is a federal law that establishes certain rights for seamen who are injured while working on a vessel. The act requires that vessel owners provide their crews with a safe working environment and that they be compensated for any injuries that occur as a result of their work. The act also allows seamen to sue their employers if they feel that their working conditions are unsafe or if they have been injured due to employer negligence. In addition, the Jones Act provides protections for seamen who are illegally detained by their employers. These provisions help to ensure that seamen are able to work in safe and fair conditions.
Who is covered under the Jones Act?
To be covered under Jones Act you must quality as a seaman. A seaman is any individual employed on a vessel or fleet of vessels, and their duties must contribute to the vessel's operation or navigation. This can include tasks such as maintenance, repairs, piloting, and other similar activities. In addition, a seaman must spend at least 30% of their time working on board the vessel in order to qualify for coverage. The Jones Act provides seamen with the right to sue their employer for "unseaworthiness", if they are injured during their employment, and it also requires employers to provide workers' compensation coverage for injured seamen. As a result, the Jones Act is an important law that provides essential protections for workers in the maritime industry.
How is liability and unseaworthiness established?
Unseaworthiness is a maritime law that applies to any type of maritime vessel. This law seeks to protect maritime workers by holding maritime owners and operators responsible for creating an environment that is inherently unsafe or harmful to the people on board. Unseaworthiness covers a wide range of issues, from structural damage on the ship's hull to defective safety equipment or other hazards. Additionally, this law also applies to environmental conditions like storms or extreme heat, which can impact maritime workers' ability to carry out their duties safely and effectively. To avoid liability under the unseaworthiness doctrine, maritime owners and operators must take necessary precautions to protect their workers from harm and prevent conditions that could cause injury or illness.
What type of damages do maritime attorneys recover for clients?
Maritime lawyers aid injured offshore workers in obtaining compensation in the form of economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Economic damages are those that have a specific monetary value, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify, but they can include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Finally, punitive damages are designed to punish the negligent party and deter others from engaging in similar behavior. These can be awarded in cases where the vessel owner's actions were particularly egregious or reckless. If you've been injured in an offshore accident, it's important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options and seek the compensation you deserve.
Am I entitled to maintenance and cure benefits?
Generally speaking, injured workers are entitled to receive maintenance and cure benefits if they have been injured while working. These benefits are intended to provide financial support for medical costs related to treatment and recovery, as well as other expenses that may arise during an extended absence from work. Of course, eligibility for these benefits will depend on a number of specific details related to each individual case. For example, if an injury is caused by recklessness or negligence on the part of the worker, then it is possible that they may not be entitled to receive maintenance and cure benefits. Ultimately, this determination will be made by an arbitrator or judge based on the facts of each individual case.
What should I do after a maritime injury?
If you are injured in a maritime accident, there are several steps that you should take to ensure that your legal rights and interests are protected. First, report the injury to your supervisor, captain, or vessel owner and seek medical attention as soon as you suffered an accident offshore. This provides protects your health will also creating the documentation necessary of your injury in the event that you need to file a claim for compensation down the road.
Another important step is to gather witness statements from those who witnessed the accident or interacted with you shortly afterwards. Witnesses can provide valuable information about what happened leading up to and during the accident, which can help strengthen your case if necessary. Additionally, it is a good idea to photograph any damage or injuries sustained by yourself or others involved in the incident. Such evidence may play a key role if you decide to pursue legal action against another party for negligence or other wrongdoing.
Generally, injured seaman are instructed by their employer to fill out an accident report. When you do fill it out, be honest and detailed about what elements aboard the vessel caused your injury. Don’t feel pressured to water down the details, you should mention any contributing factors, from broken or dilapidated equipment to the unsafe actions of peers.
Finally, it is critical to work with an experienced maritime injury attorney who understands the complexities of these types of claims and who has expertise in pursuing damages on behalf of injured individuals. If you’d like to discuss your maritime injury with a maritime attorney at Sneed & Mitchell, call (866) 434-0014 or text (713)-800-6676 to speak to an attorney now. You can also fill out our quick contact form and a maritime lawyer will contact you immediately.