Maritime activities play a crucial role in global trade, commerce, and transportation. However, with the vast expanse of oceans come inherent risks, and accidents and injuries are not uncommon occurrences in this industry. When such incidents happen, understanding legal recourse becomes paramount. This is where maritime injury attorneys step in. But what exactly do these legal professionals do?

In our guide below, the maritime injury attorneys at Kherkher Garcia provide helpful information about the role and responsibilities of a maritime injury attorney. To find out how our attorneys can help you, contact us for a free consultation.

Understanding Maritime Law

Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, governs activities and offenses that occur on navigable waters. This body of law is complex, as it involves a mixture of international treaties, domestic statutes, and established maritime customs. The legal issues that arise in maritime accidents can be distinct from those in other areas of law, making it essential for individuals involved in maritime incidents to seek specialized legal counsel.

Role of a Maritime Injury Attorney

A maritime injury attorney specializes in handling cases related to accidents and injuries that occur on or near navigable waters. Their primary responsibility is to advocate for individuals who have been injured due to negligence or misconduct while working at sea or on vessels. These attorneys possess a deep understanding of maritime law and its nuances, allowing them to navigate the complexities of maritime cases effectively.

Investigation and Evidence Gathering

One of the initial tasks of a maritime injury attorney is to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident. This involves gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. It also includes analyzing relevant documentation such as crew logs, maintenance records, and navigational charts. By meticulously collecting evidence, attorneys can build a strong case to support their clients’ claims for compensation.

Determining Liability

In maritime accidents, determining liability can be challenging due to the numerous parties involved, including shipowners, operators, crew members, and third-party contractors. A maritime injury attorney utilizes their legal expertise to identify the liable parties responsible for the accident. Whether it’s negligence on the part of the vessel owner, inadequate training of crew members, or defective equipment, attorneys work to hold accountable those responsible for their clients’ injuries.

Navigating Complex Legal Proceedings

Maritime injury cases often involve complex legal proceedings that require specialized knowledge and experience. Attorneys representing injured maritime workers must navigate a maze of regulations, statutes, and case law specific to maritime jurisdiction. From filing claims under the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) to litigating in federal admiralty courts, maritime injury attorneys guide their clients through every step of the legal process.

Negotiating Settlements

Many maritime injury cases are resolved through settlement negotiations rather than going to trial. Maritime injury attorneys leverage their negotiation skills and legal acumen to achieve favorable outcomes for their clients. By advocating for fair compensation that covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages, attorneys help injured maritime workers obtain the financial resources they need to recover and move forward with their lives.

Litigation in Court

In cases where settlement negotiations fail to yield satisfactory results or when defendants refuse to accept liability, maritime injury attorneys are prepared to take their clients’ cases to court. Litigating maritime injury claims requires a deep understanding of federal admiralty law and the ability to present compelling arguments before judges and juries. Attorneys advocate zealously on behalf of their clients, striving to secure the justice and compensation they deserve.

Specialized Knowledge and Experience

Unlike general personal injury attorneys, maritime injury attorneys possess specialized knowledge and experience in maritime law and the unique challenges faced by maritime workers. From offshore oil rig accidents to cargo ship collisions, these attorneys have a deep understanding of the maritime industry and the legal principles that govern it. Their expertise allows them to provide tailored legal representation to clients involved in maritime accidents.

How Does a Maritime Injury Attorney Pursue Maximum Compensation for Clients?

Pursuing maximum compensation for clients as a maritime injury attorney involves a multifaceted approach. Here are some key strategies that maritime injury attorneys employ to maximize compensation for their clients:

  • Understanding Maritime Laws and Regulations: Maritime law is a complex and specialized area of law that governs activities on navigable waters. Attorneys must have a deep understanding of maritime statutes, regulations, and case law to effectively advocate for their clients. This includes familiarity with laws such as the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), and general maritime law principles.
  • Identifying Liable Parties: Maritime accidents often involve multiple parties, including shipowners, operators, employers, manufacturers, and third-party contractors. Attorneys work diligently to identify all potentially liable parties responsible for their client’s injuries. By holding each party accountable for their role in the accident, attorneys increase the likelihood of obtaining maximum compensation for their clients.
  • Quantifying Damages: Determining the full extent of damages suffered by the client is crucial for pursuing maximum compensation. Attorneys assess all economic and non-economic losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, and future medical needs. By thoroughly documenting the client’s damages, attorneys can present a compelling case for the compensation they deserve.
  • Expert Testimony: In complex maritime injury cases, expert testimony from medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists, maritime industry experts, and economists may be necessary to support the client’s claim for maximum compensation. Attorneys work closely with qualified experts to provide expert opinions and analysis that strengthen the client’s case.

Pursuing maximum compensation for clients as a maritime injury attorney requires a combination of legal skill, strategic advocacy, and dedication to client advocacy. By holding accountable those responsible for maritime injuries, attorneys help injured workers obtain the compensation they need to rebuild their lives and move forward with confidence.

What Damages are Available in Maritime Injury Claims?

In maritime injury claims, various types of damages may be available to compensate victims for their losses and injuries. These damages can be categorized into economic and non-economic damages, each aiming to address different aspects of the harm suffered. Here are the common types of damages available in maritime injury claims:

Medical Expenses

This includes the cost of medical treatment, hospitalization, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and any other expenses related to medical care necessitated by the injury. Additionally, future medical expenses may also be considered if the injury requires ongoing or long-term medical treatment.

Lost Wages and Earning Capacity

If the injury prevents the individual from working or earning income, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and future earning capacity. This encompasses both the wages lost during the recovery period and any potential reduction in earning capacity due to permanent disability or impairment.

Pain and Suffering

Non-economic damages such as physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish resulting from the injury may be awarded to compensate the individual for their suffering. These damages are subjective and aim to address the intangible harm experienced by the injured party.

Disability and Impairment

If the injury results in permanent disability, impairment, or disfigurement, the individual may qualify for compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life, loss of limb, scarring, or other permanent physical limitations.

Loss of Consortium

In cases where the injury affects the injured party’s relationship with their spouse or family members, damages may include compensation for the loss of companionship, support, affection, and intimacy suffered by the injured person’s loved ones.

Punitive Damages

In cases of willful misconduct, gross negligence, or recklessness by the responsible party, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future. However, punitive damages are not common in maritime injury claims unless there is evidence of egregious conduct.

Maintenance and Cure

Under maritime law, injured seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits, which provide for their basic living expenses and necessary medical treatment until they reach maximum medical improvement. These benefits are separate from other damages, with the intention of fulfilling the employer’s obligation to care for injured seamen.

Wrongful Death Damages

In cases where a maritime injury results in death, surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and other damages resulting from the wrongful death of their loved one.

It is important to note that the availability and calculation of damages in maritime injury claims can vary depending on factors such as the specific circumstances of the accident, the extent of the injuries, the jurisdiction in which the claim is filed, and applicable maritime laws and regulations. Consulting with a knowledgeable maritime injury attorney is essential to understand the full scope of damages available and to pursue fair compensation for the injuries sustained.

Learn More from a Skilled Maritime Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in a maritime incident, working with a knowledgeable attorney provides your best hope of protecting your rights and pursuing justice and compensation. At Kherkher Garcia, we have more than three decades of experience in maritime law. Our maritime injury attorneys know the ins and outs of maritime injury claims. We also have valuable resources that can aid in successful resolution of even the most complex cases.

Learn more about your rights and potential options for pursuing recovery by contacting us for a free consultation. To get started, call us at 713-333-1030, or submit our online contact form. We also offer a live chat option on our website.

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Kevin Haynes

Kevin Haynes

Firm Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Firm Partner Kevin Haynes. Kevin has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 15 years. He has won $150 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. Kevin is powerful and effective in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work or on the road.

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