How much it costs to hire a maritime injury lawyer will vary from one lawyer to another and one case to another. Maritime injury lawyers, much like other personal injury attorneys, typically work with a contingency fee agreement. This means that they recover their fee as a percentage of your final settlement.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), in a contingency fee agreement, a client is only responsible for paying the attorney’s fees when and if the case is successful and the client recovers a settlement or court award. If the case is unsuccessful, neither the client nor the attorney recovers anything. While contingency fee percentages can vary, the ABA reports that attorneys often take around one-third to 40% of the final settlement as their fee.
Maritime Accidents and Injuries You Can Claim
Working on the high seas can be exciting and financially rewarding. However, the maritime environment can also lead to serious accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Common maritime accidents can include:
Slips and Falls
Working in a maritime environment can involve inclement weather and harsh working conditions, whether workers are employed on vessels or oil platforms. Slippery or wet surfaces, hazards such as broken steps or handrails, or cluttered walking surfaces can potentially lead to falls.
Injuries from serious falls on a vessel or from a vessel or oil platform can have fatal consequences for a victim. If they survive, victims could face painful, permanent, and costly injuries such as spinal cord damage, fractures, and loss of limbs.
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Exposure to Dangerous and Toxic Substances
Oil platform and ship workers handle dangerous and toxic substances on a daily basis. A ship’s engine room contains powerful machinery, pressurized equipment, and a lot of fuel, all potentially dangerous to the lives of workers. Chemical burns, steam burns, and burns from a fire can occur in a ship’s engine room and on oil platforms.
Maritime workers can also suffer injuries when exposed to harmful chemicals and while working with high voltage equipment.
Injuries from accidents in the maritime environment can be life-changing for a victim and, in the case of severe disability or death, life-changing for the entire family. Victims and their families may face exorbitant and ongoing healthcare expenses, loss of wages, and other significant costs. However, a maritime lawyer from our firm can help victims and their families fight for compensation.
Proving Negligence in Maritime Accidents
Some accidents, especially those caused by environmental conditions, can be unavoidable on the high seas. However, when an accident happens due to another party’s negligence, such as a co-worker, another contractor, company, or equipment manufacturer, injured victims could have legal recourse.
In some instances, employees could also have legal recourse against a negligent employer. Employers must ensure that workers have the required qualifications and adequate training for their positions. Employers should also provide the necessary safety equipment and have safety procedures and policies in place to protect workers.
Negligence can cause accidents due to:
- Inadequate training of a co-worker or the injured person. One needs specific skills to work on ships or offshore locations. If your employer failed to provide adequate training for you or a co-worker to do your job safely and you got hurt as a result, your employer could be negligent.
- Defective equipment that caused your injuries. When things go wrong with equipment on ships or offshore devices, explosions and other catastrophes can happen.
- Refusing to give workers adequate rest or breaks. Fatigue can lead to drowsy or distracted workers, which can increase the risk of an accident.
- Failing to fix dangerous conditions in a timely manner. The longer that a hazard goes uncorrected, the more likely it is that someone will get hurt or the dangerous condition will become worse.
- Failing to keep workers safe in extreme weather conditions. Working in the maritime environment involves greater risks than working onshore, but the employer must take reasonable measures to make the workplace safe for the employees.
These are but a few examples of the many perils inherent in the maritime industry that can expose workers to harm. If you do not see your situation listed here, do not worry. You can call us today to find out for free if we can help you.
How a Maritime Lawyer Can Help You Build Your Case
In many cases, maritime laws and regulations can differ markedly from those on land and will depend on whether an accident happened in international or U.S. waters. A maritime injury lawyer from our firm can help you identify your options for pursuing compensation when you suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of an individual or a company.
Victims who can successfully hold the negligent party to account in their maritime injury claim may be entitled to a range of damages. Economic damages may include:
- Healthcare costs and future medical expenses
- Income loss and future income losses
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages victims could potentially receive awards for may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of a limb
- Reduced life quality
Victims may also receive compensation for additional types of damages. It is important to note that the size of a potential settlement will ultimately depend on the circumstances of the accident, severity of injuries, and other factors.
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Things the Insurance Company Will Not Tell You Before You Settle Your Maritime Injury Claim
The insurance company represents the negligent party, not you. They do not have a legal obligation to educate you on your legal rights. They are a business that makes its profits from paying injured people as little money as possible to settle their claims.
Here are a few examples of things you should keep in mind:
- The first offer the insurer makes is usually a lowball offer. They expect you to negotiate, so they allow some wiggle room for that to happen. Most people who grab the initial offer on their claim find out later, when it is too late, that they should have gotten much more money.
- A jury verdict database is one of the tools that personal injury attorneys and liability insurers use to calculate the settlement value of a claim. Without access to that tool, you have no reliable way to determine how much compensation a jury would be likely to award in your case.
- The insurer does not pay your medical bills. You will be responsible for paying your doctors and other medical expenses out of the settlement proceeds. When people try to handle their injury claims on their own, sometimes their settlement checks do not even cover the medical bills.
- You will never get any more money for your losses from the accident. When you settle, you sign a waiver of your right to any future claims arising from the accident. If you find out after the settlement that you need additional medical treatment, like an operation, you will have to pay for that yourself. You cannot go back and ask the defendant or insurer for more money.
If you want to have someone on your side during the claims process, you can call us today. We can also file a lawsuit for you if the case does not settle.
Call the Attorneys at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers for Help and Advice
We can offer you a free consultation discussing the circumstances of your potential claim and your legal options. A dedicated maritime lawyer from our firm who is familiar with maritime law can protect your rights and potentially help you recover compensation. We champion the causes of people who get hurt because of someone else’s carelessness.
We will leave no stone unturned in fighting for a settlement that covers all your damages now and in the future. Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers now for a free case review or fill out our contact form. There is no obligation.