Why Seamen Should Consider An Offshore Injury Lawyer

by Terry Bryant

People working on a ship at sea are protected by the Jones Act, a federal statute that, among other things, dictates what a victim may do following an offshore injury. A lawyer that is familiar with the Jones Act and maritime legal procedures is often needed to oversee these cases as they offer unique challenges not present in standard worker compensation claims. However, an accident victim may also be able to recover much more compensation, compared to other worker compensation claims.

Every state’s worker compensation regulations allow an employee to recover compensation even if an accident is not the employer’s fault. This gives these workers a measure of safety, as they have financial protection no matter how an incident occurs. This same level of security is not afforded to seamen filing a claim under the Jones Act, as negligence must be present for a qualified seaman to receive compensation. However, Jones Act litigation is not restricted by payment limits to victims, so qualified seamen are often in line to receive more compensation, compared to other worker compensation claims. After an offshore injury, a maritime lawyer will take these extra factors into account and ensure the victim’s claim is handled appropriately. Without any expertise in this field, an attorney may leave possible compensation on the table or fail to pursue the information needed to show negligence.

In general, if there are any unsafe working conditions onboard the vessel, the vessel owner or manager may be held responsible for any accidents that occur. This may mean the vessel was not manned properly, was not maintained properly, or was knowingly ill-equipped for potential dangers at sea. An experienced offshore injury lawyer will be able to gather the information needed to show this, something a recovering victim may not have the time or ability to handle on their own.

Jones Act litigation is convoluted and complex, often involving arguments concerning jurisdiction, work allocation and mitigating factors at sea. An attorney without experience in the field will not have the tools needed to represent victims in these cases. Instead, anyone who has been harmed in an accident at sea should consider speaking with qualified maritime attorneys instead.