Admiralty and maritime law governs issues of liability arising out of maritime incidents such as collisions, grounding, and spills. Admiralty law and maritime law specifically regulate boating accidents and injuries to crew and passengers on ships, yachts, and recreational boats.
Maritime Injury Laws apply to:
When filing a maritime accident claim under the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act, or general maritime law, an injured maritime worker has the opportunity to designate the case on the admiralty or civil docket. The choice to pursue your claim on the admiralty docket will be one of the most important decisions that can be made in your case. However, admiralty claims are complex and require the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.
Typically the statute of limitations on these claims is three years. However, claims against cruise ships, ferries, government-owned vessels, and governmental entities may have a shorter statute of limitations.
Generally, an injured maritime worker is entitled to damages similar to any other personal injury victim. Accident victims are entitled to recover monetary damages for all losses and expenses suffered as a result of the accident. Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include compensation for:
The Jones Act protects workers on ships and offshore oil rigs. Under the Jones Act and related laws, maritime workers are entitled to recover damages if injured on the job. These claims are different from workers’ compensation claims in that employer negligence must be proven in order for employees to receive compensation for their injuries.
Our office speaks with injured maritime and Jones Act workers on a daily basis and they almost always want to know:
Do I have the right to select my own doctor? If you are injured while working as a seaman, you absolutely have the right to select your own treating physician.
How long will my employer keep paying me maintenance and/or advances? You should continue to receive maintenance payments until you reach ‘maximum cure’ which is generally the point at which the doctor releases you from his care.
Will I be entitled to some sort of settlement at the end of my claim. Unfortunately, most companies will never offer a fair settlement at the end of the claim for several reasons. If you have allowed your employer to control your medical treatment and fully ‘defend’ your claim for months and months after your injury, most employers will have successfully lowered the value of your claim during this time. In other words, if you wait around until your employer makes a settlement offer, your claim is likely to be worth very little at that point. We have also found that most voluntary offers made by an employer or insurance company are very, very low, and you should ALWAYS discuss the offer with a good maritime attorney before you even think about accepting it.
Insurance companies settle most injury claims due to fear, not any desire to help the injured person. Fear that they could be held responsible by a judge or jury for an amount of money greater than the settlement amount.
This applies to offshore injury claims even more so. Every time we obtain a good settlement for one of our injured maritime clients, the company pays that settlement because we have prepared a great case against them, and they are fearful of going to court. If you have been injured and you think your company will negotiate a fair settlement because of some sense of fairness or obligation your company may feel towards you, I am sorry to say that is very unlikely. Once you sustain a serious maritime injury working offshore or on a vessel, your claim is typically handled by an insurance company. These insurance companies see dollars and cents, not hard working injured employees. They understand the language of fear, not obligation to you for past service with the company. The Jones Act and maritime law give you significant rights to level the playing field between you and the insurance company, but you have to know the law and your rights.
At The Young Firm, each Louisiana and Gulf Coast maritime, admiralty, and boating accident lawyer is experienced and knowledgeable in maritime law. Our attorneys work regularly with experts of all kinds to build the best possible case for our clients:
You have only one opportunity to present the strongest case possible; it is, therefore, important that you entrust your Jones Act or maritime claim to lawyers that routinely and successfully handle such claims.
If you would like to learn more about our record of success, our lawyers would be more than happy to give you a list of client references. Over the years, we have obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements while treating our clients with the respect, courtesy, and personalized attention they deserve.
Our personal injury attorneys handle claims on behalf of an injured longshoreman, harbor workers, oil rig workers, and shipyard workers. Having recovered millions of dollars in successful verdicts and settlements on behalf of our past clients, we are confident in our ability to achieve similarly excellent results in your case. To schedule a consultation and case evaluation, contact a Louisiana admiralty lawyer at The Young Firm today.