Our state is beautiful, and we are known for relaxing beaches and sparkling water. But the water can become a liability and the injured often become entangled in confusing state and federal laws. Just like an injury on land, those injured offshore may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and living expenses. If you have been injured offshore, it’s important to contact an attorney to learn more about your rights.
An offshore injury is an injury experienced by a maritime worker while he or she is at sea. These injuries can range from minor to debilitating or even life-threatening. There are a number of ways a person can become injured at sea, whether it be from an accident, a slip and fall, or constant exposure to toxins. Like most injuries, offshore injuries can have many medical costs and financial losses associated with it. That’s why it’s important to determine what rights your have to financial compensation after an injury. Your injuries may be covered under the Jones Act, Longshore Act or various other areas of maritime law.
The Jones Act
If you are a maritime worker or a seaman who has suffered an offshore injury while working as crew of a tanker, tug, barge, trawler, jack-up rig, semi-submersible rig, mobile offshore drilling rid or any other maritime vessel, you have rights under the Jones Act, as well as other maritime laws. However, these laws can be very confusing and that’s why it’s important to contact an offshore injury lawyer to learn more about your rights. Though you have rights under these laws, it can be difficult to obtain fair treatment and full compensation without an attorney to guide and protect you. The Jones Act is legislation that regulates maritime commerce between U.S. Cities. It can be found in Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The act requires that goods and passengers transported by water between U.S. ports be done in U.S.- made ships, owned by U.S. citizens and crewed by U.S. Citizens. It also provides sailors with additional rights, including the ability to seek damages from the cew, captain or ship owner in the case of injury. If you or a family member has been involved in a serious maritime or offshore accident, you need to take action as soon as possible to protect your right to claim compensation. You may have been working as a dock worker, shipbuilder, shipbreaker or seaman, or on a vessel along the Gulf Coast. Call the attorneys at Ligori & Sanders to learn more about your rights after a maritime injury.
Cruise Ship Injuries
Not all ship injuries are related to work. Sometimes, people are injured while on vacation. Many general maritime laws apply to cruise ships, but there are special laws that apply only to cruise ships. Cruise ships may insert language into their passenger contracts that shorten the time in which a passenger may file a claim against the cruise line, usually one year. The normal statute of limitations for admiralty and maritime matters is three years. Furthermore, cruise lines can designate on the passenger ticket a location where they can be sued. This is referred to as a forum selection clause. Many major cruise lines are based in our state in Miami and designate Miami as the location where they must be sued. In many cases, passengers are unaware of the cruise lines forum selection clause, or have ignored it and filed suit in another jurisdiction. In this case, the lawsuit must be dismissed, leaving the passenger with no means of recovery against the cruise line. This is yet another reason why it’s extremely important to hire an attorney who can look at the contract between yourself and the cruise line, to ensure that you’re best interests are being looked after. Moreover, most cruise line vessels are registered in a foreign country. The law of the country of registration of the vessel could potentially apply to events on cruise vessels and may also be more favorable to the claimant than U.S. law. This makes maritime law very confusing, as you are often dealing with laws from several locations, or even from several countries. For example, a ship that sails from Miami could have the laws of Florida, of the United States and the laws of the foreign county which apply to its passengers. If you or someone you love has been injured on the water, contact our firm for your free case consultation. We will take the time to get to know you, and the facts of your case so we are best equipped to help you recover. While we handle the legal side, you can focus on getting well again. We are available 24 hours a day at 813-254-7119.