There are many laws that protect maritime workers. Sometimes, those laws may not offer protection in certain situations. That’s when general maritime law would apply. Also referred to as admiralty law, general maritime law are laws passed by the courts to offer protections to all people on ships or boats.
Many people wrongfully assume that general maritime law won’t cover them. This is largely because they don’t know how it works. Our lawyers explain the history behind general maritime law and how it can apply to different people and cases.
Is General Maritime Law the Same as the Jones Act?
General maritime law and the Jones Act are not the same, although they both do relatively the same things. The Jones Act primarily provides protections for seamen and offshore workers. In contrast, general maritime law protects anyone who is at sea for almost any reason. General maritime law actually predates the Jones Act.
If you’re an offshore worker and can’t file a claim under the Jones Act, the next best option is filing a claim under general maritime law. However, it can be challenging to file a claim on your own, so speaking with one of the experienced lawyers here at Morris Bart can help you win the best settlement possible for your case.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
What Damages Does General Maritime Law Cover?
You can cover a variety of damages similar to the Jones Act under general maritime law:
- Lost wages and reduced earning capability
- Medical expenses such as prescriptions, physical therapy, treatment of injuries, etc.
- Wrongful death
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If a specific damage you suffered isn’t listed above, don’t worry. As long as you can prove it’s related to your injury at sea, you can factor it into your settlement.
Keep in mind that punitive damages aren’t allowed under general maritime law. However, so long as you can prove negligence, you can recover an award for your compensatory damages as listed above.
How Do I File and Prove a Case Under General Maritime Law?
Even though general maritime law offers you many protections, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically guaranteed a settlement. Whether you settle in court or through negotiations, you’ll still need to prove that the at-fault party responsible for your injury at sea was negligent in their actions.
To do so, you’ll need to file a claim and prove your case by:
- Get medical treatment as fast as you can after your injury.
- Gathering as much evidence as possible regarding your injury such as photos, witness testimonies, medical records, etc.
- Keep a record of all your financial expenses due to your injury.
- Consult with an attorney for the best results.
General maritime law allows you to fight for your claim on your own. However, unless you have solid legal experience and knowledge, you should retain an attorney to help you instead. The chances of winning against your employer, a shipowner, or an insurance company on your own aren’t very high.
Will I Need a Lawyer to Help Me Win My Case?
As stated previously, a lawyer is essential to winning a case. When you retain a lawyer who has a robust understanding of general maritime law, you won’t have to spend hours on end self-studying and preparing for a legal battle. A lawyer can help you:
- Understand all the merits of your case and the legal options available to you according to general maritime law.
- Calculate all your damages accurately to ensure nothing gets left out.
- Get answers to all your questions regarding your case.
- Gather significant evidence pertinent to your case.
- Help you get medical treatment.
As you can see, there are many things a lawyer can provide you outside of just fighting for your case. Unfortunately, general maritime law isn’t the easiest thing to understand. Our explanations are a basic rundown. If you need more specific information on general maritime law and how it applies to you, the attorneys at Morris Bart can help you.
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Statute of Limitations Under General Maritime Law
Just like the Jones Act, 46 U.S. Code § 30106 gives you three years to file a claim under general maritime law. However, just because you have three years to file a claim doesn’t mean you should take that long. It’s in your best interest to file a claim while the evidence pertaining to your case is still fresh.
Talk To an Offshore Injury Lawyer Today
The offshore injury attorneys at Morris Bart are ready to help you win your case. Don’t pay out of pocket for an injury that wasn’t your fault. You can contact us 24/7 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation. There’s no obligation when you reach out over the phone or online through our website.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.