The ocean can present a wide array of dangers that result in serious personal injuries. People are drawn to the water, whether it is for employment or leisure.The fact that an accident occurred offshore could present additional difficulties with interviewing witnesses, securing evidence, and investigating your claim; these wrinkles in the legal process make maritime law complex.
Additionally, claims that arise offshore may need to be litigated in Federal court, due to the jurisdictional laws that control claims that occur across state lines or in international waters.
If you have been hurt as the result of an accident that occurred offshore, contact a Clearwater maritime injury lawyer to determine whether your claim should be heard in State or Federal court. A knowledgeable lawyer can answer any additional questions you have about your case.
Maritime Injury Basics
Maritime, or Admiralty law, includes the body of rules and regulations that govern contracts, torts, and matters involving ships, shipments, or crimes on the open water.
There are many causes of maritime accidents, similar to motor vehicle accidents on land. The Coast Guard’s study indicated that operator inattention and inexperience were the most prolific factors contributing to accidents. These factors were followed by an improper lookout, excessive speed, machinery malfunction, and alcohol consumption.
Common Maritime Accidents
Accidents that occur offshore can be made worse by the inability to seek out immediate medical care. A Clearwater maritime injury attorney can recommend medical providers to secure the care needed for a victim’s injuries.
Types of maritime accidents include:
- Offshore oil rig explosion
- Cruise vessel crash
- Human error
- Commercial fishing accident
- Unmet safety guidelines
- Ship grounding
- Accidents in shipyards or on barges
- Accidents involving divers
- Poor weather
A maritime accident victim should consult an attorney to research the case and recommend courses of action to help obtain the victim’s goal, whether it is compensation, indemnification, or simple justice.
Statute of Limitations
Each state has statutes of limitations to limit the time a person may bring a claim. There are a few reasons why a statute of limitations is in place. This law protects defendants. It ensures that evidence will not grow stale as a result of a plaintiff’s failure to bring a lawsuit in a timely manner. It also discourages plaintiffs from being lackadaisical when it comes to prosecuting a claim.
In Florida, most onshore personal injury claims are governed by a four-year statute of limitations. However, for a maritime related personal injury, the statute is generally limited to three years. Even more restrictive are the rules governing claims against cruise ships.
For a claim involving a cruise line, a plaintiff generally only has one year to file suit from the date of injury. Many people are also unaware of the mandatory binding arbitration clause in the cruise line contract. If a contract contains this type of clause, people may be obligated to appear in the venue designated by the contract to litigate any claims against the cruise line via binding arbitration, rather than a traditional trial.
Contact a Clearwater Maritime Injury Attorney
It is critical that you seek out an attorney who will research your case and determine which statute of limitations and course of action is appropriate for your given claim.
If you have been hurt offshore, do not delay in contacting a Clearwater maritime injury lawyer to protect your rights today.