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Do I Need to Hire a Maritime Lawyer?

Working offshore is important work, but it is also dangerous work.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for incidents to happen that can put the lives of maritime workers at risk—causing serious injuries that can range from broken bones to damaged backs or even brain trauma. When situations like this occur, it is vastly important that no time is wasted in getting a knowledgeable lawyer to look into your case.

For most workers throughout the nation, compensation can be sought under state workers' compensation laws. These, however, do not extend to maritime employees. Instead, these types of claims would need to be pursued under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) or the Jones Act. Both of these help maritime accident attorneys in different capacities; if you have questions about the differences, click here.

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In order to ensure you are properly protected, the one thing that remains the same is the fact that you need a maritime attorney by your side. In most offshore injury claims, litigation will be required to ensure that justice is seen done. While some claims can be settled justly through pre-trial negotiations, this is not always the case; in fact, it can be rare. The truth of the matter is that if you want the other party to take you seriously, they need to know you are willing to take your claim to the courtroom.

Benefits of Hiring an Attorney Who Is Experienced in Maritime Law

There are many benefits to having a heavyweight maritime injury attorney on your side. For one, it can help keep your employer from taking advantage of you. In some cases, your company will ask you to sign a document following an accident that essentially releases them from liability in exchange for unearned wages and certain benefits. While this may sound appealing, it may not be what you actually need; in all truth, it could be severely less than what your claim is actually worth. By working with a maritime attorney, you can have a legal professional review the documents to ensure they are fair and you are not unjustly waiving your right to recovery.

Second, it can level the playing field in tough cases. You are not going against an individual—you are going against a company with an entire team of lawyers on their side. It is this team's entire purpose to dispose of cases just like yours with as little damage as possible. They are not looking out for your best interests. They are not trying to help. They are trying to get you to go away without paying you a penny more than they absolutely have to. If you want the level the playing field, you need someone on your side who won't let them play games.

Third, they can be there to answer your questions throughout the process. Maritime law is infamous for being notoriously complex. It is confusing and full of road blocks. If you are on your own, it can feel hopeless—as if you are just running in circles. It doesn't have to feel that way though. With a maritime lawyer working with you, they can help break down the steps you are facing in accessible terms, give you honest feedback, and guide you competently.

How the Right Lawyer Can Help with Your Case

At the time you were hired, it is possible that your company requested that you sign an agreement or release in exchange for payment of unearned wages, maintenance, or medical benefits. You may have signed other releases and waivers that were intended to limit the compensation you could receive in the event of an injury or illness. If you are considering filing a maritime claim, it is imperative that you have any documents reviewed by a qualified maritime attorney to assess the impact these could have on your claim. When making a claim for damages in a maritime injury suit, there are many aspects that must be taken into consideration.

Only an experienced lawyer will be able to make sure all of the critical items are addressed:

  • Status of the worker at the time of the injury;
  • Status of the vessel at the time of the injury;
  • The qualifications of the worker bringing the claim;
  • The time frame in which the claim must be made;
  • The vessel's seaworthiness;
  • The training of the crew members; and
  • Factors that contributed to the injury.

While the issues may seem simple, getting to the contributory causes of the injury and proving negligence may require interviews, a review of documents, and access to information that a worker could not get without a lawyer. During the discovery process, you and your lawyer may find that your employer and his insurance company are attempting to settle your claim as cheaply as possible. If you were making the claim on your own, you may be tempted to accept the first offer, unaware that your injuries and the cause of the injuries could make you eligible for significantly more compensation. The only way to level the playing field is to hire an experienced attorney.

Finding the Right Maritime Attorney for You

While it is clear that hiring a lawyer is important, it is not always simple to find one who suits your needs. You need the best lawyers in maritime injuries cases. There are many law firms out there who advertise that they handle admiralty and maritime cases, but how many of them are actually experienced? How many have actually taken on these cases before and won? You want an attorney who has worked these cases before and emerged successful. Someone who knows the ropes—not a lawyer who will be more confused than you about the industry.

At Arnold & Itkin, we pride ourselves on action over words. All you need to do is take a look at our case results to see for yourself the numerous victories we have achieved. We have recovered billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our personal injury clients—many of whom were maritime workers such as yourself. For example, we once recovered $14 million on behalf of a Jones Act seaman who had suffered a serious head injury on an inland barge. We also recovered $11.5 million for an offshore worker injured on the job.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Our victories are numerous, and we are more than happy to share them with you. You should be wary of firms who are not upfront with legal track record and have something to hide. Your potential maritime attorney shouldn't dodge questions and should be able to produce a list of case results and client testimonials. This transparency is something you can find at our firm. We are proud of what we have accomplished and the people we have helped.

If you would like to discuss your case with a maritime lawyer from our firm, we encourage you to reach out and contact us as soon as possible. Just call (888) 346-5024 or click here to fill out our online form.

Do I Need a Maritime Injury Lawyer?

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What is it Like To Work With Arnold & Itkin

Arnold & Itkin represented nearly a third of the crewmembers injured in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

I encountered professionalism, understanding, compassion… lot of compassion. They really felt for what me and my wife were going through.
~ Deepwater Horizon Crew Member

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Because maritime law is so complex and so complicated, it is crucial that you work with an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of how it works and who has proven themselves in similar cases before.

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