How do I File a Claim for a Maritime Injury?

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  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 March 2020
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A claim for a maritime injury must be handled by an attorney who has experience dealing with these kinds of matters. Compensation rules for injuries or fatalities which occur while on board a ship involving United States personnel are covered under the Merchant Marine Act, which is also called the Jones Act. A personal injury lawyer who is familiar with this legislation can evaluate the injured person's case to determine whether it has merit and should be pursued.

A person who has been injured while working as a seaman can make a claim for damages from the vessel's owner, its captain or a fellow crew member if the injuries are caused by negligence on someone's part. The injured person's family can make a claim for a death benefit if the individual died while performing his or her duties. In that situation, the maritime injury attorney would determine whether the claim for damages should be made under the Jones Act or another piece of legislation, such as the Death on the High Seas Act.


The duty of care required by ship owners, captains and fellow crew members under the Jones Act is higher than in other instances. For example, if a seaman falls overboard, the captain and crew are required to conduct a search and rescue operation for as long as there is a reasonable chance that the individual will be found alive. Based on the information provided by the client, witness statements and medical reports, the maritime injury lawyer will make a claim for compensation that reflects the full amount that the injured seaman or the survivors are entitled to under the law.

There are a number of methods that can be used to find a maritime injury lawyer. If the seaman belongs to a union or association, the administrators may be able to provide a list of names. Another way to find a qualified personal injury lawyer is to go online. Many law firms now maintain a presence on the Internet, and conducting a search specifically for attorneys who have experience in maritime claims will reveal links that you can click through to find qualified practitioners.

When making a claim for a maritime injury, finding the right attorney is key to receiving the full amount of compensation you are entitled to. The rules for dealing with injuries on board ships or incurred by a seaman who is performing his or her duties in another location can be complicated. When looking for a personal injury lawyer to deal with this type of claim, remember to ask whether he or she is familiar with Jones Act claims.


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