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What Happens After an Injury at Sea?

Oct 9, 2007
Despite the extensive safety classes offered for both commercial and pleasure sea going individuals, an injury at sea can happen at any time, and can be very terrifying. After all, the resources to remove someone from a vessel who is seriously injured are really minimal in comparison to receiving assistance on land. After the helicopters and rescue teams create a big fuss and get an injured victim safely to an on shore medical facility, what happens next?

Medical bills for an injury at sea tend to be much higher than those for injuries sustained on land. In most cases, some sort of rescue effort was made either via boat or air to get the injured party to the appropriate medical facility. Just like a ride in the ambulance comes at a cost, so does a chopper evacuation or a boat rescue. Coupled with the extensive damage that can occur during a rescue, even a broken leg or arm can rack up serious medical bills in a heart beat. In some cases, there is nothing the injured party can do.

In cases involving liability or work related injuries, the only way to financially protect what has taken a lifetime to build is to call a maritime injury lawyer. A maritime injury attorney can go over the case, ask the appropriate questions, and determine whether or not the injury falls under provision made in the Jones Act.

The Jones Act is a valuable doctrine that determines liability and financial obligation relating to injury at sea regardless of whether the injury was sustained in the pursuit of commerce, protection of the country, or personal pleasure. The Jones Act is used to determine the rights of an injured victim and how much and if they are entitled to compensation and damages stemming from the accident.

Obviously, a maritime injury attorney can do nothing if the accident was the fault of the injured party. There was a story in a prominent sailing magazine a few years back that told the story of a man who ran himself over with his own dinghy. He had apparently stood up while underway and the dinghy ran into a sandbar, lurching and sending the gentleman several feet in front of the dinghy.

The auxiliary engine did not have a safety cut off switch attached to his wrist, and of course with his weight out of the boat, it continued to progress and ran him over, cutting his face. Accidents such as these happen more regularly than could ever be printed.

A maritime injury attorney could do nothing in this situation, unless there was an emergency cut off switch that failed, or there was some other sort of safety mechanism that did not respond during the emergency. Nevertheless, this particular gentleman was still encouraged to contact a maritime injury lawyer just to be sure that his case was not tri-able.

When accidents occur involving safety equipment, the first call after alerting family members to the situation, should be to a maritime injury attorney. A thorough assessment by a maritime injury lawyer can often determine whether damages to cover the medical costs as well damages to cover any permanent injury are attainable.

For many families, this is the only viable means of paying the extraordinary costs associated with such an accident as well as maintaining the lifestyle achieved before the accident. A higher percentage of injuries at sea lead to life long effects than injuries sustained on land. Research has not yet proven exactly why, but there are many theories to support the statistics.

When an accident is clearly the fault of another seagoing individual, whether this entails commercial accidents or pleasure boating accidents, a maritime injury lawyer becomes a vital part of the picture, just as the physicians, surgeons, and therapists. A maritime injury lawyer can oversee that the victim's rights under the Admiralty Law and the Jones Act are being upheld. In the event that any party involved in the accident are in violation of Admiralty Law or the Jones Act, a maritime injury attorney can then step up and start filing on behalf of the injured victim.

All too often people who have sustained an injury at sea and are entitled to compensation under the Jones Act or Admiralty Law do not receive fair treatment. This is due in part to the propensity for calling the wrong lawyer. If an injured party contact the same lawyer they used to fight their speeding ticket or to draw up their legal papers, they are not likely to receive the type of representation they need. Maritime injury attorneys are devoted to a specialty, and thus have extensively studied the Jones Act and Admiralty Law.
About the Author
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on cases involving maritime injury, maritime contracts, and the Jones Act Law. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com
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