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5 Reasons to Hire a Maritime Attorney

Why You Should Hire an Attorney After an Injury on the Inland Rivers

If you work on a vessel on the inland rivers, there is a risk that you will get injured on the job. This type of work is very difficult work and, unfortunately, it is also very dangerous. If you’ve been injured on the job, you will want to speak with a maritime attorney as soon as possible.
Why should you speak with a lawyer? The short answer is that you may need, and be entitled to, compensation that you won’t be able to obtain on your own. After an injury on the job, your employer will be doing all it can to avoid liability and will not be looking out for your interests. So you need someone who is looking out for your interests.

Why You Should Speak with a Maritime Attorney

Below, our friends at Katz Law, discuss five reasons to hire a maritime attorney if you get injured on the job:

1. Can Explain All of Your Legal Rights

After a maritime accident, it is important that you understand your legal rights so that you can make the best decision for your future. If you work on a towboat, this means understanding their legal rights under the Jones Act, federal law that may apply to you.
The Jones Act is a federal law that protects workers who spend their days working on vessels on the water If you qualify as a “seaman” under the Jones Act, your legal rights include:

  • The right to choose your own doctor for treatment;
  • The right to maintenance and cure benefits regardless of how you got injured (with some exceptions); and,
  • The right to additional financial compensation if someone else or your employer is responsible for your injuries.

These are just examples. Injured seamen (and other injured workers) have many other legal rights as well. When you hire a maritime attorney to represent you, your lawyer can explain everything you need to know.
2. Determine Which Claim (or Claims) to File Under the Jones Act
If you qualify as a seaman, you are probably entitled to maintenance and cure benefits. But, filing a claim for these benefits might not be your only option. In many cases, injured seamen can file other claims under the Jones Act as well, including:

  • Claims for Jones Act negligence when their employers or a co-worker are responsible for their injuries; and,
  • Claims for “unseaworthiness” when they get injured due to a dangerous condition onboard a vessel or floating rig.

Filing a claim for Jones Act negligence or unseaworthiness allows you to recover significantly more compensation than you can recover through a claim for maintenance and cure. As a result, it is critical to ensure you know all of the Jones Act claims you are eligible to file.
3. Determine if You Have a Claim Outside of the Jones Act
Along with assessing your rights under the Jones Act, it is also important to determine if there are any other responsible parties, other than your employer. For example, even if you don’t have a claim for Jones Act negligence or unseaworthiness, you may have a claim against an equipment manufacturer for a product defect. On the water, lots of things can go wrong, and making sure you know who (or what company) is responsible for causing your injury is critical to recovering the full financial compensation you deserve.
It is vitally important that you determine if you have the ability to bring claims outside of the Jones Act because, although the Jones Act give you the ability to collect for most of your damages, there are certain categories of damages that are not recoverable under the Jones Act.
4. Seek Maximum Compensation for Your Medical Bills and Lost Wages
Regardless of the claim (or claims) you are able to file, you need to ensure that you are able to recover maximum compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. When you are recovering from a maritime injury, you do not want to accept less than you are entitled to by accepting a quick pay-out. A maritime attorney will be able to help make sure you receive full maintenance and cure benefits while fighting to recover any additional financial compensation that is available. Sometimes, you can obtain maximum compensation by obtaining a lump sum settlement. But other times, you can only recover what you are entitled to by taking your case to trial. It is vitally important that you hire a maritime attorney who has successfully taken claims to trial, and that is why you should hire a maritime attorney.
5. Seek Just Compensation for Your Pain and Suffering
If you have a claim outside of maintenance and cure, you may be entitled to recover much more than just your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. If you have a claim for Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness, a product defect, or another issue, you may be entitled to full compensation for all of your injury-related losses.

Request a Free Consultation with a Maritime Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured working on the inland rivers, you should contact an experienced maritime attorney for more information.