Can I recover damages after a recreational boating accident if I was partly at fault?
You can potentially recover damages after a recreational boating accident if you were partly at fault. If your state is a pure comparative negligence state, or if maritime law governs your claim, you can recover damages proportionate to the defendant’s fault, regardless of how much you were at fault. If your state is a modified comparative negligence state, you can recover damages proportionate to the defendant’s fault, but only if you were not at fault beyond a certain percentage. If your state is a contributory negligence state, you will not be able to recover damages if you were at fault to any degree.
How does the contract in my cruise ship ticket affect my right to sue for injuries?
Contracts in cruise ship tickets may limit passengers to suing for injuries within a certain time and in a certain place. For example, an injured passenger might need to file a claim within one year, and they might need to notify the cruise line within six months. A passenger might need to file a claim in a state or city where the cruise line operates, even if they live in a distant state. A contract also might specify the law that will apply to the claim. A passenger may challenge the validity of a contract or a specific provision in a contract, but courts generally enforce them.
What are maintenance and cure?
Maintenance and cure are traditional benefits that maritime workers can receive while they recover from an injury or illness, regardless of fault. Maintenance involves reimbursement for basic, necessary household expenses, substituting for room and board on a vessel. Cure involves coverage for medical treatment that is reasonable and necessary. Maintenance and cure end when a worker reaches maximum medical improvement.
How are Jones Act damages different from workers’ compensation benefits?
Jones Act damages for injured seamen require proving fault by an employer or a coworker, which makes them similar in some ways to personal injury claims. In contrast, workers’ compensation benefits do not require proving fault. Jones Act damages cover a broader range of harm than workers’ compensation, though. For example, they include non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, which are not available through workers’ compensation.
How are Jones Act claims different from personal injury claims?
Jones Act claims impose a lower burden of proof on injured seamen than personal injury claims do on other accident victims. Both types of cases involve showing that negligence by another party caused the injuries. However, causation in a Jones Act claim only requires proving that the defendant’s negligence contributed to the injuries to any extent, even if it was minimal. In a personal injury case, causation usually requires proving that the defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the injuries.
Should I file for workers’ compensation or benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
You might be able to file for both workers’ compensation and benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) if you are eligible under both systems. However, you cannot receive double benefits for the same injury. LHWCA benefits are usually more generous and may provide types of disability benefits that are not available through workers’ compensation in your state.
What is the doctrine of unseaworthiness?
The doctrine of unseaworthiness requires a ship owner to ensure that their ship, equipment, and crew are adequate to fulfill their intended purposes in operating the ship. This is an absolute and non-delegable duty. If the ship, equipment, or crew is not reasonably adequate, and a seaman is injured as a result, the seaman can sue the ship owner for damages under this traditional theory of maritime law.
What damages can I recover under the Death on the High Seas Act?
Damages under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) are generally limited to economic losses sustained by qualifying family members of the victim, such as the loss of financial support. They cannot recover non-economic damages except in plane crash cases. Moreover, an estate of a victim can bring a claim for damages incurred by the victim only in very limited situations. The broader remedies under state wrongful death laws are usually preempted by DOHSA, but a wrongful death claim may be possible in certain circumstances. A Jones Act claim is not preempted, and this may provide greater damages.
What should I do if I discover an oil spill?
You should contact the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802, even if you were not responsible for the spill. If you cannot contact the NRC directly for any reason, you can contact the US Coast Guard Marine Safety Office if an oil spill occurred on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, or the Mississippi River, or at a port or harbor. You can contact an Environmental Protection Agency regional office if the spill occurred on inland waters. Information in the report includes the date, time, and location of the spill, the responsible party (if known), the source and cause of the spill, the amount spilled, and any harm or ongoing hazard caused by the spill, among other issues.
Do I get rewarded for rescuing a vessel that has been abandoned?
Yes, you likely can receive a “salvage award” for rescuing a vessel that has been abandoned, has run aground, or is otherwise disabled. An award is usually greater than the actual cost of the rescue operation. To qualify for a salvage award, the vessel that you rescued must have faced a present and impending marine peril, you must have provided the salvage service voluntarily, and the operation must have been at least partly successful. Several factors go into calculating a salvage award, such as the value of the salvaged property, the danger that it faced, the risk that you faced, and the resources and labor used in conducting the operation.
What are the legal duties of a carrier transporting cargo at sea?
A carrier transporting cargo at sea must make sure that their vessel is seaworthy. They also must provide it with proper supplies, equipment, and personnel. The vessel must contain areas to store the cargo safely and appropriately. Under federal law, these duties are automatically incorporated in any contract between the shipper and the carrier. They cannot be waived by contract, but they may be enhanced. Any violation of these duties or additional contractual duties likely will result in liability for damage caused to the cargo.