Abbott Clay & Reed

Posts Tagged ‘ship injury’

Sexual Assaults, or Worse, on Cruise Ships

In Maritime on June 22, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Newspapers, television and the Internet are reporting a number of assaults, injuries and deaths on cruise ships. Cruises are advertised as exciting and glitzy but nothing is said about the crimes that are committed on-board. Many cruise liners have larger populations than small cities and every form of crime and neglect can exist on even the best cruise lines. There have been recent reports of murder and rape along with assault, burglary and theft. When you think of a cruise, you think of the slick television ads instead of a reality that includes a mixture of different types of people from all over the world. Passengers and crew are thrown together in cramped quarters and often mix together on-board and on-shore. Cruise lines sometimes fail to properly investigate their employees’ records before hiring them and expose passengers to crew members with criminal backgrounds, usually from a country other than the United States.

Close quarters association with crew is a risk factor that must be taken into consideration in addition to the normal risk associated with binge drinking, drug experimentation and a party atmosphere. In addition to criminal behavior, there are on-board accidents such as falling overboard due to inadequately designed railings, slipping on wet decks, being hit by falling objects, food poisoning, being thrown about in rough seas due to the negligence of the captain and every conceivable type of injury common to people on land.

In the news recently, a cruise ship was alerted to a passenger overboard, but delayed action, resulting in the passenger’s death. In another case a young man barely twenty-one years old, on vacation with his friends, had too much to drink and fell overboard while leaning over the railing because he was sick. The event was captured by a ship surveillance camera. Cruise ships are promoted as the place to “party.” Cruise ships heavily promote the sale of liquor to passengers and do not effectively monitor or police underage passengers who bring alcohol on board, especially in foreign ports.

Injuries also occur when passengers leave the ship to visit ports of call. Cruise ships arrange and promote tours, trips, scuba, fishing and other activities and sometimes they do not check out or monitor the safety of these companies that provide the services the cruise ship sells to the passengers.

It is important passengers do the research on various cruise ship lines before making a choice. Internet searches can produce many incidents that point out the risk and danger involved in cruise ship vacations. No one should should take safety for granted just because they are passengers on an American cruise ship line. Most “American” cruise lines are not American at all. Most cruise lines are foreign companies with vessels flying flags of convenience.


My Husband Died While Working On the River and I Believe Negligence Was Involved

In Jones Act History, Jones Act Law on June 18, 2009 at 7:44 AM

When someone dies while working on a boat or a ship of any kind, there are typically two laws which might apply. There is the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act. The Death on the High Seas Act, however, would not apply to someone working on a River, so if, as an example, a woman’s husband were to die while working on a river, the law they would want to pursue would be the Jones Act, which also covers navigable waterways, such as large rivers. The Jones Act also covers injuries sustained while a vessel is docked and not just ships working more than three nautical miles out from shore like the Death on the High Seas Act.

Benefits from the Jones Act are not only payable to the person who is injured while on the vessel. If this were the case, there would be no recourse for the spouse of someone who was killed while working on a vessel, but the truth is that if someone does die while employed on a boat or ship, their spouse does retain the right to file a claim under the Jones Act.

When negligence is suspected in the case of the death of an employee of a boat or a ship, there are other statutes which also come into play, such as the General Maritime Law. Negligence is a very serious charge and, if true, can also entitle you to additional benefits; however, this is a very complicated area of the law. If you have reason to suspect negligence, or for that matter have any need to make a death claim regarding maritime law or the Jones Act, it is very important for you to hire a maritime lawyer or Jones Act specialist in order to ensure that you are treated fairly and that you actually receive the compensation that you are due.

If I File a Claim Under the Jones Act, What Paperwork Will I Need?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on May 29, 2009 at 6:00 AM

If you are injured while working on a maritime vessel or for that vessel and are injured even while on land, such as on a dock or in a harbor, you are likely going to be eligible to file a claim under the statues of the Federal Jones Act. The Jones Act is a maritime law or admiralty law which protects maritime workers and seamen. However, there are some important things to remember when it comes time to handling all the paperwork and processing of putting through a Jones act claim.

First of all, let’s cover what you don’t need. What you don’t want to do – ever – is to sign a document that the company puts in front of you immediately after you’ve been injured. In many cases this is what happens, and the company throws paper at their injured worker and before they know it, they may have signed away any rights they had to make a claim under the Jones act. This needs to be avoided at all costs, and is why you should always consult a lawyer who specializes in Maritime Law before you sign anything the company puts in front of you.

What you will need in terms of paperwork is medical records. Your attorney can handle the rest, and sometimes can handle getting copies of your medical records as well, but it is vital that you obtain as detailed copies of all relevant medical information as possible. This means much more than just a doctor’s note, and includes things like X-rays, lab results and the results of any scans or tests which are done that prove the extent of your injuries, as well as the costs being incurred for medical treatments. You are going to need to make sure that your lawyer receives a copy of all of this documentation, and you should also try and keep copies for your own records in case you run into any discrepancies down the road.

Can I Represent Myself Under the Jones Act?

In Jones Act Law, Legal Representation on May 20, 2009 at 12:28 PM

If you are hurt during your employment on any water going vessel, your rights are protected under the Jones Act. Most feel that it is most wise to retain the services of an attorney when dealing with a case that falls under the Jones Act; however, some individuals would rather attempt to represent themselves – and that is perfectly fine, as long as you know full well what they are getting themselves into.

You see, the Jones Act entitles maritime workers to a specific set of rights by law; rights that normal Workers’ Comp laws either do not cover at all, or do not cover to a degree that is fit for a maritime worker. With these specific laws, there are also specific procedures and time frames that must be met in order for a claim to be valid. For instance, if there is not enough clear evidence, your case will likely be denied. Therefore, although it is completely possible for an individual to represent themselves under the Jones Act, it usually does not return the results that one might expect.

The number one reason that individuals choose to represent themselves is to attempt to retain the cash amount that the attorney would have received, which is usually between 10 – 20% of the settlement amount. What some individuals do not realize is that, without an attorney, the amount of the settlement will likely be much less. This is because an attorney who has represented individuals in such cases before will know exactly what expenses or monetary compensation you should be entitled to receive. Many individuals that choose to represent themselves do not realize the many different things that can be included in such a suit and, if they do, it’s likely that they do not know how much they can actually ask to be compensated for.

So, if you are a maritime worker who has been injured while performing your maritime tasks and you are thinking about representing yourself, take the time to review the law and make sure that you fully understand it before you attempt to take on such a feat without the help of an attorney.