Bangor Maritime Law Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Sailors After an Injury On the Job
Maritime Law is one of the oldest areas of law practice and predates the U.S. Constitution. This type of law governs what happens on vessels sailing on any navigable body of water, including lakes, rivers, and oceans. It also contains rules for addressing any type of offense that may have taken place on a vessel, including the rules for injured sailors to receive compensation after an accident on the job. Our maritime law attorneys share some answers to questions we get on a regular basis.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARITIME LAW AND COMMON LAW?
Maritime Law deals with the navigation and trade of any body of water that is used by ships and other types of vessels for commerce, trading, or recreational purposes. The United States Constitution awards federal jurisdiction to cases involving accidents and/or crimes that took place on navigable waters, but in some situations, individuals do not need to bring their case to a federal court and they are allowed to bring their case to a state court or more than one jurisdiction as long as the state court can employ common law principles to bring a solution to the issue that would not otherwise be within reach of a federal court.
Maritime or admiralty judges typically only apply maritime law principles to cases that do not involve any injuries. If a case involves an injured sailor or offshore worker, it might be necessary to resort to common law or a jury trial in a state court, as maritime law judges only conduct trials without juries. Common-law judges tend to look back at the decisions made on previous cases of a similar nature – referred to as legal precedents – to influence and guide their decisions. Some cases in maritime law may require the use of common law where there aren’t any laws addressing that specific point. In summary, cases involving injured maritime workers may require careful consideration when choosing which courts should have jurisdiction over the case and whether the case needs to be filed with more than one court.
WHAT IS THE JONES ACT AND HOW CAN IT HELP ME?
The Jones Act was established in part as a way for injured maritime workers to recover compensation for their losses when the accident and injury resulted from employer negligence. Sailors and other vessel workers do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits like their counterparts on land. With the Jones Act, those who qualify may be entitled to receive payment for damages comparable to a personal injury lawsuit on land. Because it is understood that workers on a vessel are at a much higher risk for injury or death, the Jones Act allows workers to seek compensation not only for their medical expenses and economic losses, but also includes payment for pain, suffering and mental anguish resulting from the injury. In this case you can contact our personal injury attorney in Bangor.
In order to be eligible to file a claim under the Jones Act, an employee must play a role in contributing to the work of the vessel and must demonstrate they spend at least 30% of their work time on board the vessel. This is referred to by some as the 30% Rule, and it encompasses a variety of professions – from engineers and deck hands to cooks and bartenders – as long as they spend time on board and their work contributes to the accomplishment of the vessel’s mission. You can always contact us to find personal injury lawyer in Portland.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY IF I WANT TO SUE MY EMPLOYER UNDER THE JONES ACT?
If you have been injured on the job while working on board a vessel, it is important to understand that filing a claim is not an easy process when compared to the same process for land workers. Issues such as knowing which court will have jurisdiction over your case and how much money you may be entitled to makes self-representation very difficult if not impracticable.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
It is best to seek the help of a knowledgeable maritime law attorney who can guide you through every step of your case. At Gideon Asen LLC, our goal is to help injured sea workers to secure maximum compensation after an injury caused by their employer’s negligence. We take maritime law and Jones Act cases in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and anywhere on the Atlantic seaboard. Contact us at (207) 206-8982 to learn your options.