Accidents that happen on the water can serve as the basis for personal injury litigation, just like accidents on land can. People who get hurt while working on the water even have special protections under federal law that are unique to workers in the maritime industry. In either situation, though, unrepresented plaintiffs generally have a very tough time getting fair case results, even if they have been involved in civil litigation in the past.
Support from a seasoned Auburn maritime injury lawyer can be essential to securing the most favorable resolution possible to your settlement demand or lawsuit. Whether you want to pursue restitution under the federal Jones Act or file suit against an individually negligent boat operator, your dedicated personal injury attorney will provide the guidance and support you need to proactively enforce your rights. Reach out to Gideon Asen, LLC today to learn more about how our team can help.
Unique Recovery Options for Maritime Workers
Any time an accident happens in “navigable waters,” federal law may take precedence over state law when it comes to financial recovery. In particular, a piece of federal legislation called the Jones Act serves as the rough equivalent of workers’ compensation for maritime workers injured away from land while working.
Under the Jones Act, maritime workers have the right to demand restitution from their employer after a serious work-related accident not only for medical bills and lost work wages, but also certain non-economic forms of harm like physical pain and mental anguish. However, they must be able to show their injuries stemmed at least in part from legally actionable negligence by their employer in order for such a claim to proceed.
Furthermore, only maritime workers who spend 30 percent or more of their total time onboard a vessel that is away from port for their job are eligible to seek compensation under the Jones Act. An Auburn maritime injury attorney can provide more information about how claims of this nature work and what a particular person’s recovery options might be.
Establishing Fault for a Personal Boat Accident
In Maine, if an injury only involves privately owned or rented watercraft and stems from negligence on behalf of a private operator or owner, the injured party should have standing to file suit directly against the negligent party based on traditional negligence law. Cases like this broadly follow the same rules and restrictions applicable to cases built around land-based accidents such as motor vehicle collisions.
Notably, though, this means the modified comparative fault system established under Maine Statutes Title 14, §156 would apply as well, so no injured boater or passenger who bears an equal or greater share of total fault for their injuries compared to the person they are suing can recover any compensation. Furthermore, as a maritime accident attorney in Auburn can further explain, 14 M.R.S. §752 sets a six-year time limit after an accident resulting in personal injury occurs for any related civil litigation to pursue. The injured party may permanently lose the right to demand restitution for that particular incident if they do not act within this time frame.
Work with an Auburn Maritime Injury Attorney Now
Injuries in “navigable waters” can make for complicated and time-consuming civil litigation, especially if your employer is to blame for your damages. Fortunately, you have help available from dedicated legal professionals with a track record of achieving positive results on behalf of injured parties.
A conversation with an Auburn maritime injury lawyer can be a key first step toward obtaining the compensation you deserve. Call Gideon Asen, LLC today to set up a consultation.