Maritime Attorney Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Maritime Lawyer?
A Maritime Lawyer, also known as an Admiralty Attorney, is an attorney that specializes in the application of maritime law. But maritime law is vast and includes subjects like property damage and breach of contract cases. A maritime injury lawyer further specializes in maritime law as applied in personal injury claims by seafarers, amphibious workers, passengers, and recreational boaters. Experienced maritime injury lawyers who exclusively represent injured mariners are uncommon among practicing attorneys.
Maritime injury attorneys represent their clients through activities such as investigating incidents, performing legal research, helping clients understand their rights, consulting with industry experts, arguing with opposing counsel, drafting legal documents, appearing in court, and negotiating claim resolution. Jones Act lawyers and Jones Act attorneys represent injured seamen under the federal Jones Act and general maritime law.
What Are My Rights After Being Injured On the Job?
This is a complex question that implicates numerous federal statutes and maritime law. When a mariner or longshoreman is injured or tragically killed on the job, the following may be involved:
- Maintenance and Cure
- Jones Act
- General Maritime Law
- Maritime Wrongful Death
- Death on the High Seas Act
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
- Seaman’s Protection Act
- Seaman’s Manslaughter Statute
- Limitation of Liability Act
Some of these laws provide rights and remedies to injured mariners or their surviving family members. Others provide protections to vessel owners. But all of these laws require an experienced hand to navigate.
The best way to know if you have a claim for money damages is to call a seasoned maritime lawyer like Mariner Law, PLLC. Attorney Adam Deitz can help you apply the facts of your case to this myriad of relevant law to understand your options. Call (253) 600-2531 for a free consultation.
Best Practices After Maritime Injury
Maybe you’ve suffered a maritime injury on or near the water and you’re wondering—what do I do now? You may be concerned about paying your bills, feeding your family, and getting better. Meanwhile, there may be an insurance company gearing up to defend your claim before you even know what compensation might be available. There is no substitute to contacting a salty maritime lawyer like Mariner Law, PLLC as soon as possible after your injury, but here are a few tips to get started:
- Report any injury to your supervisor, the captain, and/or the vessel owner as soon as possible. Sometimes you may not immediately know that you were injured, so be sure to report any symptoms as soon as you been to experience them.
- Go to the doctor and get medical treatment. Your health should always be your first priority. Talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms and how they relate to your workplace injury. Do not minimize your pain or act tough. Then follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter. Be kind and respectful to doctors and their staff. Always show up to appointments on time and follow-up as the doctor instructs. If you were a Jones Act seaman, you may be entitled to maintenance and cure to pay for some of your living expenses and your medical care. Call a maritime attorney to learn more.
- You may be asked to fill out an incident report for the vessel owner, your employer, and/or the United States Coast Guard. If you need emergency medical attention, the report can wait. When you do fill it out, be sure that you are thorough and honest about what caused your injury. Don’t feel that you should downplay any contributing factors in an effort to rush or minimize what happened. And always ask for a copy of anything you write.
- If you are asked to sign anything that you don’t understand, contact a lawyer immediately. Be especially suspicious of any documents labeled “Release” or “Settlement”.
- Keep copies of everything, including your crew contract, medical records, pay stubs, and correspondence about your claim. Also be sure to hang onto photos, text messages, and emails that are even remotely relevant.
- You may be contacted by an attorney or an insurance adjuster to “talk about what happened.” These individuals typically work for your employer and/or their insurance company. They are usually trying to build a case against you to pay as little as possible. Do not speak with them before you talk to a maritime lawyer. Do not let them take a recorded interview or a written statement.
- Some clever insurance companies may offer money to settle your claim before you’re fully recovered or before you contact an attorney. It is hard for non-lawyers to know what they are entitled to under admiralty law, so contacting an attorney before settling is always advisable. Initial consultation with a maritime attorney at Mariner Law, PLLC is free.
Maritime law is special and not every attorney has the knowledge and experience to handle mariner injuries. Many maritime laws are in place to help, but the only way to know what assistance is available is to consult an admiralty attorney. Call now: (253) 600-2531. Mariner Law, PLLC serves mariners from coast to coast, including claimants in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, New York, and Connecticut. A maritime attorney may also be available to meet with potential clients by appointment at one of the firm's local offices:
- North Puget Sound — 406 S 1st St. #300 Mount Vernon, WA 98273
- Seattle / Tacoma— 539 Broadway #412 Tacoma, WA 98402
- Portland — 4949 S Macadam Ave 2nd Fl, #83, Portland, OR 97239
- New York City — 40 Wall Street 27th Floor New York, NY 10005
What To Do If a Loved One is Killed or Lost at Sea
Maritime wrongful death cases require a special level of attention—and time is of the essence. When a seaman dies or goes missing at sea, a government investigation is all but guaranteed. The maritime employer, vessel owner, and insurance companies will appoint investigators, surveyors, and attorneys to begin protecting their interests as a matter of urgency. You should do the same. Contact and experienced attorney specializing in maritime law as soon as possible. Attorney Adam Deitz has represented numerous families in the investigation and claims resulting from the loss of life at sea. Call now for attorney assistance: (253) 600-2531.
Why Hire a Maritime Lawyer
An experienced maritime lawyer has one job: to get what you’re entitled to under maritime law. Look for lawyers that specialize in maritime injuries or exclusively represent mariners. Counsel like Mariner Law, PLLC can help you understand your options in the complex and sometimes confusing field of maritime law. This includes helping to:
- Identify what class of claimant you are
- Determine what immediate benefits you are entitled to, such as living expenses and medical costs
- Investigate what caused your injured and who maybe at fault
- Understand maritime and admiralty law issues relevant to your claim
Don’t go it alone during this trying time in your life. There’s no obligation to speak with a maritime lawyer at Mariner Law, PLLC. Initial consultation is free and anything discussed will remain confidential. Take the first step towards resolving your claim, call now.