Maritime accidents can occur in a number of ways. These can affect seamen, fishermen, oil rig workers, and even passengers on a cruise ship. Accidents can be caused by unseaworthy vessels, lack of proper safety equipment or lack of training for crew to properly handle safety equipment, by working under dangerous weather conditions, or due to equipment failure and human error. When the owner of the vessel is responsible for the conditions that caused the accident, the injured person has the right to sue for damages. The first step in the process should be to consult with a maritime injury lawyer.
The Jones Act and maritime injury law
Maritime accidents most often involve seamen and workers on board such vessels as ferries, tugboats, fishing vessels like crabbers, draggers, factory trawlers, etc., and merchant marine ships. Oil rigs also fall in this category. Workers could be anyone who works on board, including fishermen, deckhands, cooks, engineers, pilots, oil rig workers, and even musicians playing on board.
Workers compensation laws don’t cover accident and injury at sea. For maritime accidents, the Jones Act of 1920 gives seamen the right to sue employers for negligence. The Jones Act is part of the Merchant Marine Act, which governs the conduct of merchant marine vessels. In general, it allows for damages where injuries have been caused by negligence on the part of the employer or owner of the vessel. A maritime me personal injury attorney can help anyone who has been injured on board to file a claim.
Negligence and unseaworthiness
Negligence by the employer can cover many different situations, including the failure to provide safe equipment, failure to properly maintain the equipment and the vessel, and failure to train crew to use equipment correctly. Negligence can also mean forcing crew to work in bad weather conditions or for long shifts, failing to follow safety rules, and lack of medical equipment and care on board. Mistakes by crew and officers are also considered to be negligence.
Seamen and passenger who have been injured on board a vessel can also claim damages under general maritime law for “unseaworthiness.” This refers to the condition of the vessel and its equipment. Insufficient crew, slippery or uneven surfaces, obstacles or tripping hazards, and defects in the vessel are all considered to make a vessel unseaworthy.
Claiming damages for maritime injuries
Anyone who has been injured on board a vessel may be able to sue for damages. Maritime injury lawyers can help to determine if there is a valid case, and the amount of damages that can be claimed. In general, monetary damages for personal injuries can cover ongoing and future medical costs, compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income, and loss of enjoyment of life, among others.
There is no cap on the damages that can be claimed. Maritime injury law is a specialized area of practice, like securities fraud and probate litigation. Maritime personal injury lawyers often have personal experience of life at sea and because of that, they understand the situation of someone has been injured in a maritime accident.
Accidents on board seating vessels can affect seamen, fishermen, crew, and passengers. Maritime injury lawyers can help anyone who has been injured to file a claim under the Jones Act or under general maritime law.