Also referred to as offshore accidents, maritime accidents can result in traumatic injuries, significant property damage and - in the worst cases - fatality. In 2008 alone, the U.S. Coast Guard responded to over 27,000 offshore incidents that resulted in at least 800 deaths and over $121 million in property damage.
While such maritime accidents can be devastating, for those who survive them, getting the proper medical and legal help is essential to recovering and moving on with their lives.
What To Do Following a Maritime Accident
After receiving emergency medical care to prevent further health complications, injured parties should then consult with experienced maritime attorneys to:
- Learn more about their legal rights
- Find out if they are eligible for settlement to compensate them for their injuries and losses
Causes of Major Maritime Accidents
Maritime accidents can be caused by a range of complex factors, including (but not limited to):
- equipment malfunctions
- extreme weather conditions
- human error (i.e. the negligence, recklessness or inexperience of a captain, crew or passengers)
- intoxication of a vessel's operator(s)
Human error plays a role in roughly 70 percent of all offshore accidents.
Specific Types of Maritime Accidents
- collisions (with another vessel, land or other types of property)
- crushing incidents
- explosions or fires
- overboard or sinking incidents
Maritime Accident Investigation
Understanding the precise cause(s) of a given maritime accident is crucial to:
- help prevent future offshore accidents, injuries and fatalities
- improve maritime safety laws and regulations
- determine whether injured parties are entitled to a settlement via the Jones Act
Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones Act is a piece of legislation that protects seafarers by allowing them to collect compensation if they can prove a crew member's, captain's or equipment manufacturer's negligence contributed to their injuries and losses.
Additionally, the Jones Act entitles families of deceased maritime employees to collect death benefits if their loved one is killed while working for the maritime industry.
To thoroughly investigate a specific maritime accident, specialists may:
- Question the crew, captain and repair workers assigned to vessel involved in the incident
- Inspect the damaged vessel to look for any errors in equipment or repair work
Maritime Accident Reports
Maritime accident reports are detailed written assessments that:
- state when and where the event occurred
- pinpoint the level of damage caused by an offshore accident
- provide an expert evaluation of the most likely causes for a particular maritime accident
It's essential to document any maritime injury in these reports immediately after it occurs, as the more detailed these reports are, the more likely injured parties will receive the compensation they deserve.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a maritime accident? If so, contact us today to speak with an esteemed maritime attorney who will thoroughly evaluate your case and help you recover the compensation you need and deserve.
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