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When Maritime Law Turns to Maritime Lawyers

Oct 9, 2007
Under what circumstances does maritime law require excessive action on behalf of an injured individual? According to the Jones Act, maritime law requires adequate care for an injured party of maritime accidents. How can an insurance company deny the claim of a tug boat crew mate who nearly lost his leg during a capsize? Because it happened on the Chesapeake Bay rather than on the Pacific? Because he was the only one to sustain injury? Because the Captain was at fault?

These are valid questions for a man who spent nearly eight weeks enduring surgical procedures, mind altering pain killers, weeks of additional complications, and the loss of his personal affairs in the process. No award judgment won by his maritime injury lawyer would replace what he lost. No settlement negotiated by his maritime injury attorney could replace his love for his job, his physical loss, or the loss of enjoying his free time chasing his passions. Admiralty law doesn't cover those losses despite the fact that these losses are as serious as the injury loss itself.

Maritime injury attorneys are an excellent resource for gaining the proper compensation for medical care, costs, and expenses. But the sad truth is that nothing can replace lost health. However, studies show that people who hire competent maritime injury attorneys actually recover faster than those who don't. Physicians attribute this to the excessive stress experienced when fighting for a legal claim unassisted by counsel. The use of his leg may never return, but at least his family doesn't have to chronically worry about paying the mortgage or purchasing ample food for the household. This is what the Jones Act is meant to protect.

There can never be provisions written into admiralty law that address all that can be lost during a maritime accident simply because you can't place a monetary value on health and the ability to get on the floor and play with your children. These things can never be compensated for and shouldn't be belittled by being written into admiralty law. Naturally, there are those who have experienced the painful process of permanent disability who will disagree with that concept and others who see the validity in it.

A number of cases dealing with injury at sea do eventually deal with the permanent disability resulting from the injury. This can be a very long process which can be complicated by physicians more concerned with an insurance company's paycheck than the best interest of the patient. There are interpretations of admiralty law which do address these situations, but it takes a highly competent maritime injury lawyer to handle these special cases.

After all, there is so much at stake when taking such cases to court. Livelihoods are lost, families are financially destroyed, and futures become remarkably grim when the incompetence of the wrong maritime injury lawyer results in the loss of any financial security compounding the physical losses resulting from the accident. When facing permanent disability, there really should be absolutely no skimping on the quality of the maritime injury attorney for the case.

Admiralty law does not just apply to serious and debilitating accidents. All injuries received in the servitude of seagoing activities qualify for compensatory damages and medical benefits. In many cases, simple injuries at sea receive more resistance than significant injury. While a crushed finger is very painful, it is not considered to be a significant injury in the eyes of an insurance company, and many crushed fingers are essentially battled out as court cases, which in turn is more expensive for the insurance company.

Lawyer's fees and court costs plus the award of medical expenses turn out to be twice as costly as simply paying for the medical costs in the first place. With medical advancements churning out new and improved technological advancements, crushed fingers can now be replaced with life like accuracy. These cases are now being fought vigorously by insurance companies. It was cheap to wrap a hand and finger cast around a crushed finger and to shell out a little physical therapy. Now, replacement fingers are running up their tabs, and they are fighting it.

Regardless, maritime injury lawyers bring these cases before the court and are winning, as the insurance company has an obligation to pay for medical treatment that will restore an injured worker to the closest possible condition as the worker was pre-injury. Maritime injury attorneys are fighting these battles every day to enforce that the conditions set forth in the Jones Act are met with unwavering consistency.
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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