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Maritime Injuries and How a Lawyer Can Help

Injuries at sea are different from other types of personal injury claims.

If you were injured at sea, whether you were working or were on a boat for pleasure, you need a maritime injury lawyer who understands the equipment used on maritime vessels and the unique and complicated laws that apply to injuries on the water.

Northwest Washington maritime injury lawyer Justin Campbell proudly represents fishermen, crabbers, ferry workers, longshoremen, deckhands, and other people who were injured in commercial and recreational maritime accidents and fights to get them the compensation they and they families are entitled to.

Maritime Injuries for Recreational Boaters

Passengers and recreational boaters using kayaks, jet-skis, paddleboards, and other recreational watercraft are subject to maritime law if their injuries occurred at sea or on a waterway or lake. If you were injured in a recreational boating accident, the owner of the vessel owes a duty to you as a passenger and can be held responsible if your injuries were caused by the boat owner’s negligence.

In addition to recreational boaters, people injured on a ferry boat, cruise ship, excursion boat, pleasure boat, or other type of vessel are entitled to compensation if they are injured because the boat owner was negligent.

If you were a paying passenger on a boat the contract may specify the length of time you have to make a claim for injuries. The contract may also specify the way in which the claim must be presented, such as a specific jurisdiction or that they claim is subject to arbitration.

Maritime Injuries While Working at Sea

If you were injured on the job while aboard a vessel as a member of the crew you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, general maritime law, the doctrine of seaworthiness, or the doctrine of maintenance and cure.

Maintenance and Cure

People who are injured while working at sea are entitled to maintenance (a daily stipend that covers an injured seaman’s room and board while recovering from an injury or illness), cure (payment for the cost of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to an injury or illness that occurred while in service of the vessel), and unearned wages if they are injured or become ill during service, regardless of fault. If the injured seaman can show that their employer was negligent or that the vessel’s equipment was faulty the injured seaman is entitled to additional benefits.

The Jones Act

Employers are required to provide employees with a safe place to work. This includes reasonable training and the implementation of procedures that will prevent injury.

The Jones Act (46 U.S.C. §30104) is a federal law that applies to injured seaman and gives them a right to compensation for injuries caused by an employer’s negligence. An injured seaman is entitled to compensation for:

  • past and future lost wages
  • lost earning capacity
  • pain and suffering
  • medical expenses incurred due to the injuries

Unlike traditional Workers Compensation systems, the Jones Act only applies if the employer was negligent. If there is no employer negligence, there can be no recovery under the Jones Act. However, most accidents at sea are preventable and do not happen in the absence of some negligence, however minor.

Injured seaman may also be entitled to compensation under state Workers Compensation laws, the Longshore Harbor Workers Act, and general maritime law.

Unseaworthiness Claims

Injured seamen can bring claims for unseaworthiness if a vessel is “unfit” or is defective in some way. Examples of an unseaworthy vessel include:

  • Equipment failure
  • Hydraulic fluid on deck
  • Insufficient crew
  • Defective hull
  • Unreasonably slippery deck
  • Deck obstructions
  • Tripping hazards
  • Defective or insufficient tools
  • Steep stairs
  • Insufficient handrails
  • Inadequate lifesaving equipment
  • Dangerous machinery

The Campbell Law Firm Is Here to Help

If you or someone you care about was injured at sea, you need to work with a lawyer who understands maritime law and will fight for the compensation you and your family need and deserve.

For answers to questions about whether you have a right to compensation, contact the Campbell Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Most injuries at sea are preventable. If you were injured, there is a good chance it is because someone was negligent. Employers and boat owners often fail to perform proper risk analysis and to take simple steps that can prevent injuries. Crew members can make mistakes that cause injuries. If you were injured at sea, you need a lawyer on your side who will protect your rights and work to maximize your financial recovery so you can protect yourself, your family, and your financial future.

Learn more about attorney Justin Campbell and why clients choose us, then contact the Campbell Law Firm today by calling (360) 588-4111, emailing info@lawjrc.com, or completing our online form.

The Campbell Law Firm works with people throughout Northwest Washington, including all courts in Skagit County, Island County, San Juan County, Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Burlington, Sedro-Woolley, Oak Harbor, Coupeville, and Friday Harbor.

Categories: Personal Injury

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