Pascagoula Maritime Laws

Maritime law governs the various types of activities and accidents that occur on the water. This could include accidents such as accidental deaths, fires, product liability, and exposure to toxins. Any injuries that occur in Pascagoula on or near the water is governed by federal statutes.

Following an accident, individuals should seek help from a diligent maritime injury attorney who has experience handling cases that involve the sea. They could explain their rights and how the Pascagoula maritime laws could affect their case.

The Maintenance and Cure Doctrine

The maintenance and cure is a legal concept which provides benefits or payments to seaman following an accident and injury. Maintenance and cure is a very old aspect of maritime law that requires an employer to provide care for injured seamen regardless of whose fault the injury was. When a seaman is injured seeks medical care, the medical provider may order the person to cease working for a period of time until they are physically able to go back to work. The vessel’s insurance company provides day-to-day living and medical expenses until the individual is able to go back to sea.

Maintenance means the room and board of the injured seaman while he or she is recovering from an injury. Maintenance includes such expenses as the seaman’s rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and food, but not things like telephone, internet, or car payments. The cure is the injured seaman’s medical expenses. The employer must pay the injured seaman maintenance and cure until the seaman reaches a point of maximum medical improvement.

Understanding the Unseaworthiness Doctrine in Pascagoula

Unseaworthiness is another maritime law concept which states that the owner of a boat or ship has a duty to provide seaman and employees with a vessel that is seaworthy. The vessel owner would be liable for an unseaworthy vessel even if the owner acted reasonably. If the vessel or any part of it was not fit for its intended function, it is considered unseaworthy. Unseaworthiness in maritime law may differ slightly from its meaning in the marine industry. Under maritime law, a seaworthy vessel is a ship whose hull, equipment and crew are adequate in design, maintenance, and character to perform their intended functions in the operation of the ship.

Unseaworthiness does not mean that the vessel cannot sail or be navigated. A ship is unseaworthy with respect to a seaman if it does not provide him with safe and suitable appliances with which to perform his work, and if it does not afford him a safe place in which to work. The injured seaman’s maritime injury attorney does not need to prove that the entire vessel was unseaworthy or that it was in danger of sinking. All they need to prove is that some aspect of the vessel, equipment, or crew was not reasonably fit for its intended purpose and that he or she was injured as a result. For example, if the engine breaks down and the vessel is sitting dead in the water until the engine can be repaired, it may be unseaworthy, but that does not automatically make the vessel unseaworthy for maritime law purposes. Injured employees should speak to a knowledgeable attorney to learn about how the seaworthiness doctrine could be applied in their case as well as the other unique aspects of maritime laws.

What Makes a Vessel Unseaworthy

There are several instances where a ship may be considered unseaworthy. Common examples of unseaworthiness are:

  • Not having proper warnings about flammable areas, proper shut-off valves, or proper training for crew
  • Insufficient crew to perform tasks
  • Insufficient equipment to perform the taskAbsence of safety procedures
  • Tripping or slipping hazards
  • Improperly-designed equipment or worn-out equipment

The Death on the High Seas Act

Another type of Pascagoula maritime laws that could impact an individual’s financial recovery is the Death on the High Seas Act. The Act was originally intended to permit the recovery of damages against a shipowner by a spouse, child, or dependent family member of a seaman is killed in international waters. If the wrongful death is caused by negligence or unseaworthiness, the Death on the High Seas act applies. It also applies to airline disasters over the high seas beyond 12 nautical miles of U.S. territorial waters. It covers death in federal waters.

Beneficiaries and Damages

The beneficiaries under the Death on the High Seas act include the spouse, children, and dependent family members of a seaman. Recoverable damages under the Death on the High Seas Act include the decedent’s pre-death pain and suffering and lost wages.

How a Maritime Injury Attorney Could Help

Seamen, dockworkers, and other maritime employees are exposed to extremely dangerous conditions and often sustain injuries while on the water. When a seaman sustains an injury, they may be eligible to recover compensation and benefits. The laws regarding maritime injuries are governed by federal statutes. Since maritime cases can be complex, it is best to seek help from an experienced attorney who understands the Pascagoula maritime laws and could help individuals recover compensation.

Schedule a consultation today to learn about how a maritime injury attorney could help your case.

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