The sea can be treacherous and unforgiving. It knows no difference between the sick, injured, elderly or young. So life at sea usually is challenging. The same can be said for maritime law. As many people find out, the lawyer representing you when you or someone you know gets injured or dies at sea makes a lot of difference. You’ll need a lawyer that’s discreet, resourceful, firm, and experienced in such cases.
But most importantly, your maritime lawyer should possess enough knowledge about the current legal system, managing different injuries, and the intricacies that make maritime cases so delicate. You can’t hope to make the right choice without an accurate understanding of what the role of a maritime lawyer is.
Who is a Maritime Lawyer?
A maritime lawyer is an attorney exclusively dedicated to dealing with legal issues involving boat accidents and maritime injuries in commercial and recreational maritime situations. Therefore, these lawyers do not only work with seamen that sustain workplace injuries. They equally protect and represent people injured on recreational boats too. Some everyday activities maritime attorneys perform include drafting documents, handling complaints, and representing clients in court.
Due to their duties diversity, you should look for particular qualities before hiring a maritime injury attorney.
And here are five of them.
- Well-versed In Jones Act And Maritime Injuries
When you have a spine injury, you’ll have to see an orthopedist. The same applies to hiring a maritime lawyer. So you’ll need the services of lawyers that are well-versed in the laws that govern seaman injuries and maritime accidents. Prominent among these laws is the Jones Act.
This law was introduced by the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The Act regulates the transport of goods by sea in the U.S. However, the Jones Act focuses on sea workers and injuries related to their work. The right attorney must know the full extent of the Jones Act and what benefits you’re entitled to for suffering and pain resulting from your accident.
Don’t be surprised if your maritime injury claim becomes an extended case that lasts a long time. At the least, your maritime lawyer shouldn’t be surprised when the case gets expensive. Such claims may cover future and past wages as well as fringe benefits. So you’ll need experts insightful and skillful enough to adequately divulge the full extent of the economic impacts of your injury during the trial.
You may have to call on an economic and liability expert to help pledge your case to the court. Usually, this means providing upfront payment to these experts, and the responsibility falls to your maritime lawyer to hire and fund these experts.
- Extensive Courtroom Result
Apart from having the financial resources, the right maritime lawyer should also have the results to show that they can help you. And will come from years of solving similar cases inside and outside the courtroom. When you bring your claim to court, you’ll have to deal with company lawyers and insurance companies.
You stand a better chance of getting a fair settlement if your maritime attorney knows how to deal with lawyers from large maritime corporations and insurance companies. Often, you will get a settlement deal. A good maritime lawyer will reach a settlement before trial, but a great maritime attorney will be ready for any situation, trial included.
- Positive Client Reviews And Testimonials
You know your maritime lawyer is the real deal when you don’t have to judge based on their wins but the number of unsatisfied clients, because there are none. Any decent attorney will have clients that will readily give you an idea of the kind of services you can expect. Maritime injury attorney are no different.
The best in this field are in high demand and boast of many happy clients and several positive testimonials. Reviews and testimonials are available on neutral attorney websites and the professional websites of several maritime lawyers. And you should check these out.
- A Team Player
Despite all the qualities and knowledge a lawyer might have, they will also need a hand with certain aspects of their work. It doesn’t matter if they’re experts in foreign corruption and have all the United States Department of Justice provisions on bribery committed to memory. No one is an island, and they’ll require the collaboration of a team with an office’s resources. Therefore, your maritime lawyer should also be a great team player.
Now you know the top qualities to look out for when hiring a maritime injury attorney. But what’s the first thing to do in the event of a maritime injury? Usually, you can’t tell your injury’s long-term effects, neither will you know its full extent until you see a medical doctor.
Therefore, you want your injury to go, first thing, on the record, irrespective of the degree of suffering or pain. Then you want to take photos of the work area, what caused the injury, or the vessel, soon after the incident. In case you’re not in the position to take snapshots after an injury, you can get a friend to do so on your behalf.
Remember, you don’t necessarily have to use these pieces of evidence in a court of law. It’s just vital to cover your bases should the need arise and your maritime lawyer requests them.