With dozens of miles of coastline and hundreds of miles of tidal shorelines, Alabama is saturated with waterways and traffic related to the maritime industry. Accidents are bound to happen between commercial and recreational vessels traversing these waters. Maritime accidents can cause serious injury or death and are often complicated because of the unique laws that may apply.
At Lattof & Lattof, PC, we represent individuals who have sustained maritime injuries in or off the coast of Alabama as well as along the entire Gulf Coast. Our knowledgeable legal team can help you understand the laws related to maritime accidents and fight to ensure you receive the recovery you deserve. If you were injured in a maritime accident, contact our office at (251) 432-6691 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Maritime Law?
Maritime law, also referred to as admiralty law, refers to a specific area of law that governs incidents that happen on navigable waters. It includes disputes related to commerce and navigation, accidents involving vessels, injuries to seamen, and more.
Because of the complex nature of maritime law, it is always advisable to consult with an attorney if you are injured while at sea or working in the industry. Different rules may apply depending on how you can be classified, such as if you are a seaman, longshoreman, or passenger.
What Are Common Maritime Injuries?
Maritime injuries can be varied and widespread. One of the most common types of injuries are those related to slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accidents can cause severe, life-threatening harm, including traumatic brain injury.
In addition to fall-related harm, other common maritime injuries include:
- Burn injuries
- Broken bones
- Head and neck trauma
- Spinal cord damage
- Crush-related injuries
- Wrongful death
Understanding your rights and responsibilities after a maritime accident is critical to obtaining the compensation you deserve. It is in your best interest to consult with a maritime accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine your legal options.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, regulates maritime commerce in the United States. It is a federal law that also gives seamen certain rights, such as the right to sue their employer if they are injured during the course of their employment. The Jones Act applies only to seamen or individuals that are masters or crewmembers on a vessel.
What Is the Death on the High Seas Act?
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is a federal statute that allows a seaman’s family to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against an owner or operator if they died as a result of an unseaworthy vessel or other negligence. The act applies to workers and passengers on a vessel beyond the 3-mile territorial limit and individuals who were killed in airline crashes beyond 12 nautical miles.
What Is the Limitation of Liability Act?
In order to limit their liability in a maritime accident, many vessel owners turn to the Limitation of Liability Act. The act was originally enacted over 170 years ago. It states that an owner’s liability “shall not exceed the value of the vessel and pending freight.” It is difficult to challenge the Limitation of Liability Act without the help of a skilled maritime accident lawyer.
What Is the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
While the Jones Act covers seamen, the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) applies to other employees in “traditional maritime occupations.” It is a federal act that allows maritime workers to obtain compensation if they are injured while at work.
Employees covered by the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act include:
- Longshore workers
- Ship repairers
- Harbor construction workers
- Pier workers
- Dock workers
Failure to file under the correct law could directly affect your right to financial recovery. It may cost you valuable time, resources, and money and delay your claim.
Will I Receive Compensation for My Injuries?
To determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, you need to consult with a maritime accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand if you have a valid claim and how to pursue damages.
What Causes Maritime Injuries?
Maritime injuries can be caused by several factors. An independent investigation may be necessary to determine who or what caused you harm.
Common causes of maritime accidents and injuries:
- Lack of proper maintenance
- Vessel unseaworthiness
- Inadequate crew training
- Poor decision making
- Failure to follow safety protocols
- Taking a vessel out during inclement weather
- Faulty wiring
- Defective equipment
- Engine room and electrical malfunctions
- Collisions between vessels or objects
If you are injured at sea or on other navigable waters in Alabama, you need to get medical treatment. Failure to seek medical attention for your injuries may impact your recovery. Once you are treated by a physician, you should consult with an experienced maritime accident lawyer that can help you understand your rights.
Hiring a Maritime Injury Attorney
Were you or a loved one injured in a maritime accident? Contact our office at (251) 432-6691 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. The attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, PC, are here to help you and your family. We are available 24/7. Call now to get started.