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Maritime Law & The Jones Act

Maritime Law & The Jones Act

Have Questions About Your Offshore Injury Accident? Call 1-800-ATTORNEY to Discuss Your Case for Free!

Maritime law (sometimes called admiralty law) involves a complex set of laws that can only be deconstructed and simplified by an experienced maritime law attorney. There are certain factors that can be weaved into your contract pre-employment or pre-trip, which can make it very hard to seek justice if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. By contacting an experienced maritime lawyer, you’ll exponentially increase the chances of a positive outcome in your case.

Maritime Law and Assumption of Risk

If you’re a worker on an oil rig or are simply a boat crew member, you know that there are many hazards lurking around in your environment. Your employer is required to do everything they reasonably can in order to prevent their employees from being harmed.

You may have heard of “assumption of risk.” This is an argument commonly used as a defense to many personal injury claims. It essentially means that the defendant believes you knew there was a risk of injury, and therefore they don’t owe you any compensation. Luckily, courts have consistently said that the assumption of the risk doctrine is not a valid defense to most kinds of maritime injury claims. Pure comparative negligence on the other hand, can be a valid defense.

Worker Injuries

Here is a list of some of the most-common ways in which workers are injured in a maritime setting:

Maritime Jones Act Lawyer

Offshore Injury Claims & Maritime Law

  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Sinking/flooding
  • Falls overboard
  • Capsizing
  • Slips and falls
  • Lifting injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Back injuries
  • Repetitive stress

The Jones Act is on Your Side

The Jones Act gives you some measure of protection when it comes to your maritime rights. This is a Federal act that provides relief to employees of boating or shipping vessels, should they suffer some kind of injury or death. Under the act, you may be eligible for compensation if you can prove that the injuries you sustained were caused by the negligence of an employer, the boat owner, vessel operator or even a co-worker. If, after an injury, your employer fails to provide you with adequate medical care, you may have an additional claim. An injured seaman can seek monetary compensation for permanent injury, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and (in some cases) punitive damages.

Unseaworthiness

Unseaworthiness does not necessarily refer to the ship’s ability to sail or navigate. A vessel or ship may be unseaworthy in respect to an employee or seaman if he or she is not provided a safe place to work. If an aspect of the ship, crew, or equipment is not reasonably adequate (in design, maintenance or character) to perform its intended function, and that inadequacy causes an injury, you may be able to file an unseaworthiness claim under maritime law.

Offshore Drilling

Offshore drilling is a lucrative opportunity for those that are looking to make a good amount of money away from home. However, this is a job that’s full of risk given the nature and remoteness of the job. That being said, maritime law generally covers offshore oil & gas drillers in the event of a serious accident. If you call 1-800-ATTORNEY, we will discuss the facts of your case for free and let you know what options you have available to you.

Offshore drilling accidents may include:

  1. Catastrophic blowouts: These usually happen at the exploratory stage of drilling, and unfortunately are often deadly. You likely remember the tragic Deepwater Horizon blowout which caused the deaths of 11 crew members in 2010.
  2. Regular blowouts: These happen during regular drilling and can lead to massive oil and gas spills. These kinds of blowouts can cause serious injury to workers, and can decimate entire swathes of marine life, putting the livelihoods of individuals working and living in that environment at risk.

Cruise Ship Accidents

When you book your cruise ship holiday, chances are you’re not thinking of the dangers that you may run into while on your adventure. Unfortunately, cruise ship injuries are somewhat common and the process to filing a claim can get very complex.

Did you know that cruise lines are allowed to add provisions to the passenger contract which restrict your right to sue? Your cruise ship passenger contract will likely state that you are only allowed to bring your claim in one location – which they specify. They will likely specify that you are only allowed to file a lawsuit in Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami. This puts you at a disadvantage since the cruise line gets to select a venue that they feel favors the cruise ship industry.

They may also have you sign away your right to trial and force you into arbitration instead. Due to the complex nature of these cases, its imperative that you discuss the facts of your case with an experienced maritime lawyer. We’ll look over the paperwork, applicable case law, your passenger contract and more to determine the best course of action. And best of all, we don’t require any money from you to get started; we only collect a percentage if we win your case. Call us at 1-800-ATTORNEY.

Injuries Sustained on a Cruise Ship

Injuries Sustained on a Cruise Ship

Here’s a list of common causes of cruise ship injuries:

  • Dock accidents
  • Falling objects
  • Physical or sexual assault due to an unsafe environment
  • On-shore excursion injuries
  • Illnesses due to unsanitary conditions
  • Pool accidents
  • Slip, trip and fall accidents
  • Fires on the cruise ship resulting in injuries

The Statute of Limitations

Maritime accidents are time sensitive when it comes to the window within which you can file a claim. Also known as the statute of limitations, this is a set amount of time that you’re given to submit your personal injury claims to a court. Unfortunately, when dealing with maritime cases, the applicable statute of limitation laws can be very confusing to someone without intimate knowledge of maritime law.

Normally, victims are given 3 years to file a claim, however, there are many factors which can reduce this window of time. For instance, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) says that if the injury occurred on structures located on outer continental shelf off the coast, the nearest state’s statute of limitations will apply. For example, if the accident was off the coast of Alabama, you are only given two years to file your claim. If you’re filing a 3rd-party claim (e.g. a claim against the manufacturer of defective equipment which caused injury) in Louisiana, you’re only given one year to file a claim. If the accident occurred on a fixed platform off Louisiana’s coast, your statute of limitations is also only one year. Cruise ships are also allowed to include provisions in the passenger contract which can limit your window to file a lawsuit to only one year.

The best thing you can do in any offshore personal injury situation is to speak to a maritime lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to win your case – if it can be filed at all.

Boating Injuries

If you’re a recreational boater, you may also be covered by maritime law. According to figures from the U.S. Coast Guard, there are more than 12 million registered boats in the country today. This number continues to grow as well as the dangers associated with this pastime.

Common causes of boating accidents:

  • Alcohol intoxication causing impairment
  • Inexperienced boat operators
  • Inattentiveness
  • Distracted boat operation
  • Failing to keep an eye out for other boaters and people on the water
  • Following another vessel too closely
  • Making sharp and unexpected turns.

Get Expert Legal Help With Your Maritime Case!

Whatever kind of maritime situation you’re facing, you’ll have a much greater chance at a successful outcome if you seek the services of a committed and experienced maritime lawyer. Please call 1-800-ATTORNEY (1-800-228-6763) for your free maritime accident or injury case evaluation. We look forward to helping you take the first step toward financial recovery.

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