How Much Compensation Can I Recover In A Maritime Lawsuit?

How Much Compensation Can I Recover In A Maritime Lawsuit?Workers in the maritime industry who have been injured due to human error or unsafe working conditions may seek compensation under the Jones Act and other maritime laws for their accident-related damages. In this article, we’re going to examine the types of compensation available in maritime lawsuits, how much you can recover for your injuries, factors that can impact your final settlement amount, and more.

Determining Which Maritime Law Applies to Your Case

Many laws protect the rights of injured maritime workers. The damages available to an injured worker will depend largely on the law or laws that apply to their circumstances.

Some of the maritime laws that may apply include:

  • Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) – Similar to workman’s compensation, the LHWCA provides disability benefits to workers employed at docks, piers, shipyards, and other work sites on or near navigable waters who become injured on the job.
  • Jones Act – The Jones Act allows qualifying workers to seek compensation for damages caused by negligence of their employer.
  • General Maritime Law – General maritime law provides remedies for employees injured due to an employer or vessel owner’s negligence while working on navigable waters, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
  • Maintenance and Cure – These benefits fall under General Maritime Law but there is no requirement to prove negligence to be eligible for them. Some maritime workers can receive maintenance (living expenses such as rent, utilities, mortgage, etc.) and cure (medical expenses) regardless of who was at fault for an accident.

Which maritime laws apply in your case will have a big impact on how much you will be able to collect in a maritime lawsuit.

Factors That Can Affect How Much Compensation You Can Recover in a Maritime Injury Case

Many factors can affect the amount of compensation you’ll be able to recover for your accident-related damages. These factors vary by the laws that are applicable, but may include:

  • Liability, fault, and contributory negligence: The degree of fault, liability, or negligence you share for the accident and the severity of your injuries have a big impact on the amount of compensation you can receive.
  • The evidence supporting your case: To prevail in a maritime injury lawsuit, you’ll have to be able to provide proof (medical reports, eyewitness accounts, expert testimony, maintenance logs, weather reports, etc.) supporting your claim of negligence, injury, and damages. The stronger the evidence, the better your chances of obtaining full compensation for your accident-related damages.
  • Pre-existing conditions: Although it does not disqualify you from seeking compensation, the existence of any pre-existing medical conditions can complicate the process. Insurance companies often use pre-existing conditions as a strategy to limit the amount of compensation an injured worker can recover in a maritime lawsuit.
  • Employer tactics: Some employers use tactics to delay or deny your claim, or minimize your settlement amount. An experienced maritime lawyer can protect your rights, hold an employer accountable, and maximize your compensation.

Common Mistakes Maritime Workers Make with Settlements

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a maritime accident attorney is that they can help you avoid the mistakes that could affect the amount of money you’ll be able to recover from a maritime lawsuit. Some of the most common mistakes injured maritime workers make when accepting a settlement offer include:

  • Failing to consider the long-term costs of your injury-related damages (including ongoing medical care, loss of employment, pain, suffering, loss of consortium, etc.).
  • Agreeing to a settlement before speaking with an attorney.
  • Discussing their case with friends, family, coworkers, and on social media.
  • Failing to provide the necessary evidence to support their claim.
  • Failing to obtain the appropriate amount of maintenance payments.

How Can a Maritime Lawyer Help?

The job of a maritime lawyer is to protect your rights to ensure you receive the total compensation to which you are entitled. They can help you at each step of the process. Maritime lawyers possess the expertise, knowledge, and resources to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you deserve for the damages caused by your injuries.

Consulting a maritime lawyer can be advantageous for several reasons:

  • They can provide valuable legal advice and help you avoid the mistakes that could affect your final settlement amount.
  • They can help you assess the full extent of your damages.
  • They can help you assign an accurate dollar value to your damages.
  • They can navigate the complex legal and administrative processes and ensure no deadlines are missed.
  • They can gather the evidence you’ll need to support your claim.
  • They can negotiate with insurance companies and employers to ensure you receive fair compensation.
  • If the insurance company refuses to settle, your lawyer will be able to argue your case in court.

When Should I Accept a Settlement?

The decision to accept a settlement should only be made after careful consideration. Once you agree to a settlement, your case is over — you won’t be able to sue for any further damages related to the accident. This is another reason why it’s so important to consult with a maritime lawyer. They can assist you in evaluating the settlement offer, understanding your rights, and determining whether the settlement adequately compensates you for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

Maximize Your Compensation: Speak to A New Orleans Maritime Attorney Today

For almost 40 years, the New Orleans-based law firm of Lewis, Kullman, Sterbcow & Abramson, LLC has been providing outstanding legal representation to maritime workers injured in a wide range of on-the-job accidents. We have a hard-earned and well-deserved reputation as one of the finest maritime and admiralty law litigation firms in the country. Our attorneys have played a role in many of the important maritime cases in the last 40 years, including those involving the Jones Act, the LHWCA, and general maritime law.

We are here to protect your rights to obtain the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. Let us put our extensive maritime legal experience to work for you. Contact LKSA today online or at (504) 588-1500 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Louisiana maritime lawyer.