Maritime Injury Claims
Admiralty and Maritime Law Protects Injured Workers
How are you going to provide for yourself and your family now that you’ve been injured? Who can you count on to protect your rights as a victim? Who will ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve because of your accident? If you talk to a lawyer, will your employer hold it against you? What is admiralty and maritime law an does it apply to me?
These are all legitimate questions and concerns shared by many injured maritime workers. Fortunately, admiralty and maritime law protects injured workers and can help you answer these questions and get your life back together.
Overview of Maritime Law and Jones Act Law
Maritime Law: This typically concerns non-employers of a vessel or structure who become injured on navigable waters. It can include people such as passengers on a cruise ship, third parties, offshore workers, etc.
Jones Act Law: This only applies to employees who are considered seamen. Note that in order to be referenced as a seaman, your time working on a vessel in navigation needs to be 30% or more.
FAQs about Maritime Injury and Jones Act Cases
These are some of the questions we hear the most from our clients.
I was injured while working on or near the water. What are my rights? If you were injured while working on or near the water then you may be entitled to file a claim under general maritime law, the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act, or the Death on the High Seas Act. You have the right to pursue a lawsuit and recover damages, which is where an experienced law firm like The Young Firm can dramatically improve your chances of success.
Who does maritime and admiralty law apply to? Generally the following people can use maritime law to file a maritime injury claim.
- Jones Act seamen
- maritime workers
- harbor workers
- oil rig workers
- tug boat workers
- barge workers
- other workers in the Gulf of Mexico
- workers on the Mississippi River
You also may be able to file a maritime claim if you’ve been injured while working on any of the following:
- an oil rig
- drill ship
- construction barge
- floating crane barge
- cargo ship
- crew vessel
- supply vessel
- fishing vessel
- other floating vessel/structure
What financial compensation can I receive in a maritime injury lawsuit? Depending on your situation, you may receive compensation for
- your medical bills
- pain and suffering
- lost wages (including overtime)
- physical disability
- mental anguish
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of companionship
- mental disability
- property damage
- and loss of fringe benefits
I see you are located in Louisiana, but I wasn’t injured there. Will you still take my case? In a word, yes. We’ve represented clients in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas as well as workers injured in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River. In addition, we have helped injured seamen across the United States by working with their local attorneys to ensure they have a skilled and experienced maritime injury legal team on their side.
Will I be blackballed from future maritime jobs if I bring a lawsuit against my employer? We’ve been practicing maritime law for more than 50 years and we believe there is no blacklist. In fact, there are laws that prevent your former employer from revealing information like injuries you may have received while on the job. In addition, we’ve had several former clients who received excellent settlements later return to work offshore after they recovered from their injuries.
What’s the Difference Between Admiralty and Maritime Law? Truthfully, there’s little difference between the two terms and generally cover many of the same things. Our article goes into more depth on the differences between admiralty and maritime law.
Be Careful Who You Trust
As word gets around that you’ve suffered an injury, you’re likely to get plenty of “advice” from others. Your uncle might tell you how his friend sued the oil company he worked for and got a multi-million dollar settlement, or the company may tell you not to seek medical care from anyone but their specialists.
With all of this conflicting injury advice coming at you at once, it can be difficult to decide to whom you should listen – if anyone – for help on how to handle a maritime injury claim.
After a serious offshore accident, you may get solicitations from “victim advocates” trying to get you involved in lawsuits and complicated legal cases. Your company may coerce you into seeing its doctors to confirm your injuries before it pays you any benefits.
If you’re getting hit hard with people offering to “help” with their advice and ideas, don’t accept their words as the final answer. Do your own independent research to find the answers to your own questions before you take advice from these sources.
When you find your own answers you can verify that the information is coming from a trusted source such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s maritime law website or a trusted maritime injury law firm.
Avoid Unfair Tactics for Your Rightful Compensation after Offshore Injury
Unfortunately, it’s common to see employers and the insurance companies taking advantage of maritime workers. Be cautious of these deceptive tactics:
- Getting you to sign documents you don’t understand – medical release forms are the most common, and signing one without knowing what it means could give the insurance company information to damage your claim.
- Demanding you see the company physician – you have the right to choose your own physician for any long-term treatment for your injuries.
- Promising your medical care will be handled by your employer as long as you don’t file a claim – There’s no guarantee you’ll get the complete care you need for long-term recovery if you don’t file an injury claim and have the accident documented.
- Abruptly forcing you to give a recorded statement – insurance companies often catch claimants off guard during these interviews and coerce them into damaging their own claims.
Before you file your maritime accident claim, you need to know what behaviors and events to avoid so you don’t damage your claim. A Louisiana maritime lawyer can help you throughout the claim process so you have the best shot at a fair settlement.
Should I File a Claim and Sue My Employer?
There is no short answer to this question. You want to protect your career, your family and your health, and you’re in a very tough position now. I always tell potential clients that if you have had a moderately serious injury and you believe the company or one of your co-workers did something wrong or incorrect which caused or even just contributed to your injury, then you are probably better off filing a claim. I define a moderately serious injury as one that you would be nervous to list on an employment application with another company or one you think another company would find important in deciding whether or not to hire you.
The Place to Turn for your Maritime Injury Case
For more information, we offer several free publications that will help you make some very important decisions about your future. If you have more questions or would like to speak with one of our skilled maritime law attorneys for no cost and no obligation, please contact us today.