If an American suffers an injury at sea, the legal rules that determine a possible award of damages are different those determining damages for injuries on land. If you or a family member suffered a maritime injury, you may want to get advice from a Palm Harbor maritime injury lawyer with experience navigating this often-confusing area of law.
The Jones Act is the federal law that protects workers who suffer injuries on seagoing vessels. The law allows qualifying sailors that were injured while performing their duties to recover compensation from their employers. Work with a qualified personal injury lawyer that could help you or your family member recover the damages that you deserve.
Getting Compensated Under the Jones Act
Workers can recover damages under the Jones Act when an injury results from the negligent acts of an employer or another worker. Ship owners can also be liable if the harm was the result of unsafe conditions aboard the vessel. Regardless of the cause of the accident, the employer must pay certain medical and living expenses.
The courts ruled the Jones Act applies to a person assigned to a vessel or fleet that operates in navigable waters, or waterways capable of interstate or foreign commerce, who performs tasks related to the ship’s mission.
The most important aspect of the Jones Act is the ability to bring a negligence lawsuit against an employer. Workers’ compensation statutes cover most workers on land, allowing injured employees to recover a limited amount of damages without deciding who was at fault.
Negligence is the failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would show under the circumstances. Negligence occurs when an employer or coworker takes unreasonable risks and a person gets hurt as a result.
Two Kinds of Recoverable Losses in Palm Harbor
There are two types of damages available in maritime injury lawsuits: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages compensate for monetary losses—past and future medical costs, lost or reduced wages, and lowered earning ability. Non-economic damages compensate the victim for pain and suffering, and can also punish the employer in cases of gross negligence.
Failure to keep a ship or boat in seaworthy condition is often the cause of the victim’s injury. The owner or entity in control of a vessel has a legal duty to make certain it is in safe working order, fully equipped, and managed by a trained crew. A Palm Harbor maritime injury lawyer could help an individual pursue damages for their injuries.
What Injuries Happen on the Water?
Collisions and other accidents on the water can cause terrible injuries:
- Damage to internal organs
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken limbs
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
A person who was enjoying life may suddenly face medical bills that can quickly escalate into thousands of dollars. Such bills can rapidly overwhelm the insurance coverage the average American has.
But medical costs are only the beginning. If the injured party was the breadwinner for a household, an entire family could have to deal with a reduced quality of life. As in any personal injury lawsuit, evidence is very important – medical exams, photos of the damaged vessels, eyewitness accounts.
Consulting a Palm Harbor Maritime Injury Attorney
A qualified Palm Harbor maritime injury lawyer knows how to gather such evidence and put it together in a persuasive argument that will make the strongest possible case for damages. If you suffered a maritime injury due to another party’s negligence or the poor condition of the ship or boat, you should seek legal counsel immediately.
Call today for a free consultation.