Statute of Limitations on Maritime Injury Claims
When you get injured in a maritime accident, the last thing on your mind may be filing a claim or pursuing legal action against the party at fault. However, while recovering is extremely important, ensuring you don’t miss your opportunity to pursue fair compensation for the damages you incurred is also crucial during this time. Understanding the how the statute of limitations applies in offshore accidents can help you know when you must file a claim by.
In cases that fall under offshore and maritime law, the Uniform Statute of Limitations for Maritime Torts is applied. This statute gives an injured party just three years to file a claim for their injuries. In most cases, an attempt to file a claim for a maritime incident that occurred more than three years ago will be barred under this statute.
Shorter Limitations Apply for Certain Cases
While the three-year statute of limitations is in place for general maritime injury cases, it doesn’t necessarily apply to all cases involving maritime or offshore accidents. The limitations can vary for a number of different cases.
For example, the following may have shorter statute of limitations in place:
- Fatal accident claims involving the U.S. Government (18 months in most cases)
- Cruise ship injury claims (generally within 6 months to 1 year of the incident)
- Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act cases (30 days for claims)
The statute of limitations can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the cases. While some Jones Act cases may involve a three-year period, others may have short or longer periods for filing a claim depending on the situation. Similarly, cases filed under the Death on High Seas Act (DOSHA) may also have a varying statute of limitations. Also keep in mind that if you want to file for maintenance and cure benefits, this will typically fall under general maritime law (three-year period). You may still be able to file a claim after this period, however, you will need to present substantial evidence for your case.
Filing Under the LHWCA
If you want to file a case under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), you should keep in mind that this is different than a typical injury claim. Since you will be filing with your employer and don’t need to prove negligence or other issues, you will have a shorter window of time in most cases. You should make sure that you notify your employer within 30 days if you want to claim compensation under the LHWCA.
Understanding how the various statute of limitations apply to your maritime injury case can be complex and confusing. The good news is that Arnold & Itkin is here to help you understand your case. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can ensure you file within the appropriate timeframe.