Workers in the Gulf of Mexico and various harbors around the country include fishers, law enforcement, shipping workers, tour boat workers, cruise ship workers, oil workers, and many other people. Accidents and crashes in these waters could put any of these individuals at risk of serious injury, potentially leading to long-term disabilities, pain and suffering, and missed work. If you or a loved one faced injuries in the gulf or in harbor waters, contact our maritime injury lawyers today.
Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A.’s attorneys for injured offshore gulf and harbor workers may be able to take your case and fight to get you the compensation you need after your injuries. Call our law offices today at (866) 386-1762 to set up your free consultation.
How Do You Sue for Worker Injuries from Boat Accidents in the Gulf or Harbor?
Workers on boats, ships, barges, and tugs are often not covered by workers’ compensation systems. Each state has its own rules for workers’ comp., and many states make this system the “sole remedy” for injured workers. Under those systems, however only a portion of your lost wages are covered, medical care is only covered if you use an approved doctor, and pain and suffering damages are not paid. For most injured boat and ship workers, the Jones Act and other maritime laws allow you to sue instead, potentially increasing the damages.
When injured harbor workers and gulf workers file a lawsuit for their injuries, they usually file it against the boat owner, the boat operator, or the employer that was responsible for their injuries. These cases are often filed in federal court under U.S. maritime law, but sometimes state courts can hear these cases, too. Your lawyer will help you determine where to file, handle most of the paperwork related to your case, and arrange service of the proper documents.
Proving Maritime Injury Claims for Gulf and Harbor Workers
When you take your employer, a ship owner, or a boat operator to court over injuries you suffered in an accident, you need to prove your claims before you can get compensation for your injuries. Typically, injury lawsuits are not based on claims that the at-fault party did anything intentional, although you can also sue for assault or sexual assault at work on a ship. When you sue for accidental injuries, your lawyer will build a case based on the defendant’s “negligence.”
A negligence claim is based on four main elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty.
- The defendant breached that duty by failing to act in a reasonable manner or failing to follow certain legal standards.
- The defendant’s breach of duty actually caused your injuries.
- The injuries include damages the court can compensate you for.
When you make a claim for damages in a negligence lawsuit, your lawyer will analyze the relationship between you and the at-fault party to determine the duty involved in your case. For instance, if you were injured in a boat crash and are suing the operator of the vessel, then the duty will likely be the duty to operate the vessel in a reasonably safe manner and to follow any boating rules, speed restrictions, and other safe-operation guidelines.
In some cases where you sue an employer, proving the specific duty and the breach could be difficult. An employer must have been directly involved in the breach to sue them. Otherwise, injuries that happened at work are not the employer’s fault, and you would have to sue a different party like the operator or owner of the ship.
Damages for Injured Harbor Workers and Gulf Workers Hurt in Boating Accidents
When you sue for injuries, the court will need to see proof of the damages that you faced in order to know how much to compensate you for. The defendant employer, ship owner, or operator might try to claim that you were not actually hurt or that you are faking your injuries, and the court will need to see sufficient proof of your injuries to get you the compensation you need.
Photos of the injury and medical records are one of the best ways to prove injuries. Your testimony about what happened, as well as testimony from witnesses to the accident, will also help prove what injuries you suffered.
Proving the extent of the damages also means proving what economic effects you faced because of the injuries and accident. This can come in the form of medical bills, medical equipment costs, rehabilitation and therapy costs, and other medical expenses. You could also face economic harm if you cannot return to work.
Lost wages are some of the core damages you will claim in your case. A serious injury could keep you from being able to return to work for months during your recovery, and many permanent or long-term injuries could keep you from returning to work at all. If you need to take a different job that pays less, you could also be entitled to compensation for the difference in your old and new wages or any other reduced earning capacity.
You can also claim damages for the pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages related to the injury.
Call Our Harbor Worker and Gulf Worker Maritime Injury Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
Call our attorneys today for help with your case. Our attorneys for injured offshore gulf and harbor workers represent injury victims and their families and work to get them the compensation they need after a serious accident or workplace injury. Call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (866) 386-1762 for a free legal consultation on your case.