The maritime industry is one of the most important sectors in the country. However, workers in this field are all too often subjected to strenuous physical labor, long hours, hazards, and extreme weather conditions rarely found in other industries.
This makes most of the accidents in this line of work severe, leading to injuries that can be life-altering. Fortunately, there are maritime laws in place that help protect and provide benefits to maritime workers and seamen who have been victims of these accidents.
Seeking compensation after a maritime accident, however, involves a legal process that might be complicated and overwhelming for the victim. You may not only be dealing with the pain of a serious injury but also lack full comprehension of maritime laws and how to protect your interests.
Thankfully, there are experienced maritime accident lawyers that are willing to help you navigate the complex legal process.
Our Miami maritime accident lawyers will evaluate your situation and tell you whether you have a valid claim, determine which laws apply to your occupation, and help you understand your legal options. We have been in the industry for years, and by leveraging our tools and resources, you will have the best chances of full compensation.
Do not hesitate to protect your rights. Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule your free consultation!
What Does a Maritime Lawyer Do?
Also referred to as an admiralty lawyer, a maritime lawyer is an attorney that specializes in the laws and regulations that govern all maritime activities including boating, shipping, fishing, and more. These legal experts help individuals and entities navigate the complex legal matters that may arise in this industry. Examples of these issues include:
Maritime lawyers take on cases that involve injuries or fatalities that occur in ships, boats, harbors, warehouses, etc.
Admiralty & Maritime Law
This category involves cases like cargo disputes, disputes over charter party agreements, maritime liens, and other cases related to maritime law.
Marine Insurance Disputes
Maritime attorneys are experts in helping individuals and entities resolve disputes with insurance carriers over maritime claims coverage. Examples of such claims include cargo damage, vessel crashes, and other marine-related losses.
Whether it is illegal fishing, smuggling, or piracy, these lawyers can help defend those charged with maritime crimes.
Maritime lawyers also play a key role in dealing with environmental matters that may come up in the maritime sector. These include oil spills, pollution and disposal of hazardous material.
Maritime lawyers also deal with cases that pertain to international law, including disputes that may emerge under the Hamburg Rules or the Hague-Visby Rules.
What Does a Maritime Attorney Need to Know?
Maritime lawyers in Miami, FL are required to have expertise in multiple areas of law in order to provide the best legal representation for their clients. Admiralty law, the domain that deals with navigation on water and shipping, is one crucial area of knowledge for maritime lawyers.
These lawyers not only need to have a good understanding of contract, property, and environmental laws, but also be well-versed with the regulations of various shipping organizations like the International Maritime Organization.
Maritime lawyers should also possess a profound understanding of the maritime industry, including its scientific aspects. This is essential because maritime law covers a broad spectrum of topics, including cargo claims, navigation rules, and environmental regulations. They should have the ability to comprehend intricate information and utilize it to address legal issues.
Given maritime law is an international field, maritime lawyers should be competent in collaborating with clients from different corners of the globe. By having a strong command of both the legal and technical aspects of the maritime industry, they can effectively represent clients in varying maritime legal matters.
The team at Klotzman Law Firm possesses the comprehensive knowledge required to offer competent legal counsel to clients involved in maritime activities. No matter the complexity of your case, we are readily available to provide the best representation in Miami and surrounding areas.
What Damages are Recoverable in a Maritime Accident Claim?
Maritime is one of the most complicated branches of the law, and when it comes to seeking justice for injuries and losses incurred in the industry, things don’t get any easier. The legal process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, to the point where many feel like giving up. However, with the right legal representation, you do not have to worry about the intricacies, and you will be in the best position to receive full compensation.
Some of the recoverable damages for maritime accidents in Miami include:
(i) Economic Damages
These entail damages that already have a monetary value attached to them or simply require the necessary records to be calculated. Examples of economic damages include:
-Medical costs for examinations, treatment, appointments, therapy, and transportation to and from appointments.
-Lost wages due to missed work as a result of the injury
-Loss of earning capacity. The injury may have been so severe that you are unable to work in the same position as before.
-Funeral and burial expenses in cases where a loved one died as a result of the accident.
(ii) Non-Economic Damages
These consist of damages that are subjective in nature and do not have a monetary value attached. They include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, anxiety, stress, loss of consortium, etc.
Given their intangible nature, defendants will almost always try to minimize non-economic damages. That’s why it is imperative to seek legal counsel from experienced maritime accident lawyers. The team at Klotzman Law Firm has helped many recover these damages, so you can leave the job to us.
(iii) Punitive Damages
While these are rarely included in maritime accident cases, the judge may award them if they find the party at fault to have been grossly negligent, or showed malicious intent in their actions. Punitive damages are designed to further financially punish the wrongdoer, serve as a deterrent for future repeat behavior, and provide the victims with a more sense of justice.
If you are a victim of an offshore accident and are looking to pursue compensation, it is best to have the best maritime accident lawyers in Miami by your side. Regardless of the complexity of your case or who you’re against, we will make a strong case on your behalf and provide the best chance of winning.
What are the Common Causes of Maritime Injuries?
Maritime work involves a lot of hazardous conditions and accidents in this field tend to be severe and deadly. There are many ways to be injured in this line of work, but some of the most common include the following:
Slip & Fall Accidents
You can easily sustain an injury or even fall overboard by simply slipping on the vessel’s decks. In fact, 43% of the reported maritime injuries stem from slips and falls. Injuries like broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord damage are not uncommon in ships and similar vessels. Those who slip and fall overboard may suffer drowning, hypothermia, or even amputations from the propellers.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Harsh weather conditions increase the chances of accidents and injuries, especially for offshore maritime workers. High winds and waves, lighting, and heavy rains can all contribute to injuries ranging from minor to fatal.
Fire and Explosions
In case of an explosion or fire caused by volatile materials on board a vessel, maritime workers usually have minimal time to react. If the vessel capsizes, it may take safety and medical supplies with it, leaving crew members stranded, with severe burns, and exposed to environmental hazards.
Ports usually deal with heavy machinery and equipment as well as large vehicles. This puts maritime workers at risk of severe injuries, especially when heavy cargo isn’t loaded or unloaded properly. Workers risk falling from a pier, or the dock or even getting crushed between shipping containers.
Drowning is one of the major risks of working as a seaman. In fact, it is considered to be among the top leading causes of unintentional injury in the maritime industry.
Machines & Equipment Accidents
Maritime vessels use a wide array of heavy machinery and equipment to operate. Mechanical failure and other issues can lead to accidents that cause severe injuries. Commercial fishing boats also carry hazardous equipment, putting seamen at risk of crush injuries and amputations.
Exposure to Hazardous Materials
Workers can also be exposed to hazardous substances such as methane while working in certain locations like offshore oil rigs. This exposure can lead to burn injuries, suffocation, respiratory issues, and more.
Once you are aware of the common causes of Maritime injuries, you will be on the right path to protect yourself and others from these accidents. By wearing safety gear, following workplace safety procedures, and staying on the lookout for potential hazards, you can greatly reduce the risk of injury.
What is the Jones Act and Who is Covered?
Also referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones act is a type of federal law responsible for regulating maritime commerce in the U.S. It was originally passed to promote and maintain a strong American merchant marine, and it requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on U.S.-built, owned, and crewed vessels.
The act requires vessel owners to ascertain safe working conditions for crew members and ensure they are compensated for any injuries sustained while working.
The Jones Act also gives seamen the right to sue their employers if they subject them to unsafe working conditions, or engage in negligent behaviors that cause injuries. This is act is therefore an important part of the maritime industry as it helps ensure that workers do their job in safe and fair conditions.
However, in order to be covered under the Jones Act, you need to qualify as a seaman. A seaman is any individual employed on a vessel and their role must contribute to its operation or navigation. These tasks include piloting, maintenance, repairs, etc. In addition, the worker should spend at least 30% of their time working on board the vessel in order to be eligible for coverage under the Jones Act.
The Act also allows seamen to sue their employers for ‘’unseaworthiness’’ if they sustain injuries during their employment period.
What Should You Do After a Maritime Accident Injury?
Maritime law can be so complicated for the average worker that it can be hard to know what to do following an accident. If you have been injured from a maritime accident, here’s what you should do:
(i) Seek Medical Attention
Regardless of the scope of injury, you should first seek immediate medical attention. This will help determine the extent of your injuries, increase your chances of healing, and provide valuable evidence to use when making a claim.
(ii) Report the Incident
Next, you should report the accident, either to the supervisor or your employer. This is important as it allows them to address the issue to avoid a similar accident and also file an accident report, which is required when pursuing compensation.
(iii) Document Everything
If possible, ensure you document everything that happened. It may not make sense because you’re still recovering, but documenting your memories can help make things clear down the line. Ensure you include the conditions prior to the accident, the equipment you were using, people present during the accident, etc.
(iv) Collect Evidence
In order to have a solid case, you need to collect as much evidence as possible. Categorize the evidence into two sections: the conditions that led to the accident, and the effects of the accident. Important forms of evidence you should collect include medical records, incident reports, footage of the accident, the vessel’s logs, third-party statements, etc.
(v) Get a Maritime Accident Lawyer
As mentioned earlier, maritime is a complex field of law that tackling on your own only makes things harder. There are also set deadlines for filing a claim and if you’re not aware of the time limits that apply to your case, you may end up losing the chance to get compensated.
A Miami maritime accident lawyer is your best shot if you want to receive maximum compensation. The team at Klotzman Law Firm will help you understand your rights and legal options. They will also help craft the best strategy for your claims process, tipping the odds in your favor.
It would be ill-advised of you to speak to anyone associated with the party at fault. This includes your employer, their insurance carrier, and their lawyers. Conversing with them about your accident or situation only risks putting your case in jeopardy.
Similarly, you should avoid signing any document before seeking legal counsel. Too many maritime accident victims make the mistake of thinking that their employers and their insurance providers are there to protect their interests.
The truth is that nobody likes to be blamed for injury or have to pay for compensation. Your employer will want to protect their reputation, and the insurance provider will want to keep their profits. So, hire a lawyer and allow them to hold conversations and make negotiations on your behalf.
Protect Your Rights Under Maritime Law
If you are a maritime injury victim, you should pick the right lawyer to protect your interests. Miami has many lawyers specializing in this field, but you should do your homework to ensure you get the best. When choosing a lawyer, pay attention to their reputation, dedication, and prowess.
The team at Klotzman Law Firm has been in the industry long enough to know all the tricks up the insurance companies’ sleeves. They are only interested in protecting their bottom line and don’t care about your physical, emotional, and financial health. Keep in mind that:
-You retain the right to get treatment from your preferred doctor
-You’re entitled to medical benefits even if you do not sign the documents the insurance company files.
-You are not obligated to give the insurance adjuster a recorded statement about your accident
-You’re not obligated to accept the settlement offer provided by the insurance carrier
Injuries in the maritime field can range from minor to life-altering and even life-ending. As such, you should take your case seriously and work with a reputable maritime accident lawyer to hold the party at fault accountable. You work long hours and deserve to be compensated for any injuries and losses you incur.
Hire the Best Miami Maritime Accident Lawyer Today!
Maritime law is one of the oldest branches of law, and therefore, it is no wonder it is full of complexities. While it allows for compensation in case you are injured at work due to the negligence or wrongful act of your employer, recovering the damages you’re owed is another thing.
The parties held liable will almost always deny the claim or try to make you settle for the least amount possible.
Do not allow them to take advantage of your situation. You can easily fight back by hiring the best Miami maritime accident lawyers at Klotzman Law Firm. We are readily available to fight for your rights and represent you accordingly. Our track record tells is all and all you have to do is give us at 954-915-7405 to learn more.