Maritime injuries can be devastating, given the hazards of an industrial workplace coupled with the risks of the open ocean. When maritime injuries occur, special rules apply to the recovery of monetary compensation. In most cases, federal statutes govern these claims.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury while working at sea, a skilled injury attorney could assist you in recovering compensation for your damages. Maritime law is complicated and arcane, so your choice of legal counsel is essential. Contact an Ocean Springs maritime injury lawyer right away to discuss your case.
Two primary federal laws provide for an injured sailor or their surviving relatives to seek compensation for injuries that occur at sea. These acts include the Jones Act and the death on the high seas act.
The most important law in most maritime injury cases is known as the Jones Act. This federal statute was created in 1920 to address injury claims for workers traveling between United States ports by sea.
The Jones Act requires ship owners and supervisors to ensure their equipment is adequately maintained. If either party fails to create a safe work environment, an Ocean Springs maritime injury lawyer could pursue a lawsuit on behalf of an injured sailor. If successful, the lawsuit could result in monetary compensation for:
A shipowner is not on the hook for every injury that occurs at sea, however. An experienced Ocean Springs maritime injury attorney must establish negligence to succeed on a Jones Act claim. Negligence can occur when an owner or supervisor fails to repair a leak, fails to hire enough crew to safely operate the vessel, or ignored other safety risks onboard.
The Death on the High Seas Act, or DOHSA, provides for another avenue to recover compensation following a maritime accident. However, DOHSA differs from the Jones Act in some important ways. Most importantly, DOHSA only offers compensation for wrongful death cases at sea. Additionally, the Act also provides for monetary compensation for passengers as well as employees.
Unlike the statutes discussed previously, the Limitation of Liability Act serves as a defense for some shipowners from Jones Act claims. The Act is arguably outdated, as it protects shipowners at the expense of injured sailors and maritime workers. The Act serves to limit the liability of some shipowners following certain maritime accidents.
In some cases, the maximum a shipowner could be liable is the value of the lost ship. When the injured workers’ claims exceed that value, they may only recover a portion of their damages. The Limitation of Liability Act is not always available, and a skilled Ocean Springs maritime injury attorney could argue that it does not apply in the injured claimant’s case.
The challenges in maritime injury litigation are unique. These claims require skills and knowledge that are rarely put to use in traditional injury lawsuits. An attorney with experience in maritime injury law could make the difference in whether your claim is successful or not.
If you are ready to take on your maritime injury claim, an experienced Ocean Springs maritime injury lawyer might have the experience needed to help you maximize your recovery. Call today to discuss your case.