Maritime injury is a very specialized area of law. Finding the right lawyer is essential — or you could lose everything. No one seeking compensation for a maritime injury should ever be some generalist attorney’s learning experience. Here is what to look for in maritime injury lawyers who give you the best chance of winning your case.
The right lawyers are experienced courtroom litigators.
The Jones Act provides remedies for injuries to crews of U. S. flagged ships, but it is the court that decides how the Jones Act is applied in each case. The answers for legal questions in maritime law can’t be found in a rule book. The courts create common law that influences future cases. Your lawyer needs to an in-depth knowledge of all the findings of U. S. courts relevant to your case, but also how to argue your case before the court to achieve an equitable settlement.
The right lawyers will file your case on time.
Like most legal actions, lawsuits for maritime injuries are subject to the statute of limitations. You must file your legal claim within a stated, limited time, which is usually three years. In certain situations, however, you have less time to file your claim. Lawyers who are not aware of the nuances of courtroom filing can lose your case on a technicality. Don’t let that happen.
The right lawyers understand how maritime businesses work.
Maritime law provides for maintenance and cure, making sure that the owners of seafaring vessels take care of their crews. There is well-established law for recovery of unpaid wages and for compensating injuries and losses caused by a vessel that is not seaworthy. But sometimes the responsible party is a third party, not the owner of the ship or boat. It’s important that your legal team understand how ships work to be able to identify the parties truly liable for your compensation. That’s particularly important in cases that have a short statute of limitations, that have to be filed quickly even to be heard.
The right lawyers have a track record of winning awards in maritime injury cases.
A good measurement for a good law firm for your maritime injury case is successful representation of at least 100 injured parties seeking compensation for maritime injuries. Look for a firm that has won cases against owners of seafaring vessels, and that has won cases against insurance companies. A good measure of legal competence is securing lifetime care for severely injured clients.
Resist the urge to settle out of court. Let the right law firm help you preserve vital evidence in your case so they can present your claim to the appropriate court with clarity within the time frame the law allows. And seek a law firm that can help you find ways to keep up with the needs of daily living while you await the judgment on your winning claim.