The courts have recognized that the federal system requires uniformity of substantive law in maritime matters. Each court applies its own procedural rules, but looks to the rules of the “general maritime law” or to applicable federal statutes for the substantive law. General maritime law is distinguished from the “Law of the Sea” which is a set of international law dealing with navigation, mineral rights and jurisdiction over territorial waters.
Liability for Injury to Passengers
For a party to be held liable, the plaintiff must establish the following three elements: (1) the defendant was under a duty to the plaintiff to use due care; (2) the defendant breached that duty; (3) the plaintiff suffered damages; (4) the breach of the duty proximately caused plaintiff’s damages.
Under Maritime Law, the operator of a vessel owes all persons on board the vessel the duty to give reasonable care under the circumstances to avoid causing injury. A passenger ship has the duty to hire a qualified and competent doctor when it hires one, but generally, it is not liable for negligent treatment afforded by a qualified physician.
Offshore Injuries Not Occurring On a Vessel
We represent workers injured on offshore platforms, offshore drilling rigs, jack-up rigs, as well as many other structures. We have handled cases involving explosions, personnel basket transfer injuries, falls, crush injuries, crane accidents, exposure to toxic chemicals, defective tools and/or equipment, defective valves, insufficient safety procedures, defective hatch and doors, improperly bled high pressure piping systems, and negligence of co-workers.
Offshore injuries not occurring on a vessel are governed by the General Maritime Law, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), the Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act; the Death on the High Seas Act or possibly State law. The governing law determines what type of money damages are recoverable, as well as the rules and procedures that the lawyers must follow. Due to the complexities of the relationship between each set of laws and the differences in each set of laws, it is critical that the injured worker hire an attorney with an in-depth understanding of Maritime Law. Attorney Brian White has a great deal of experience in maritime cases and understands how best to achieve the best possible result for clients in the quickest timeframe possible.
If you or a loved one has been injured offshore, it is critical that you act quickly to ensure that your legal rights are protected. It is critical that you contact an attorney before giving any type of statement to the company or its insurance adjuster. Many times companies will send injured employees to a “company doctor.” It is critical that you contact an attorney before going to see a company doctor. The best time to collect important evidence is as soon as possible after the accident. It is important that an injured worker retain an attorney as quickly as possible so that an investigation on behalf of the injured worker can begin before critical evidence is lost or becomes unavailable. We provide valuable counsel to our clients from the early stages in their case which helps our clients avoid unnecessary problems.
If you have been injured offshore, call today and speak to a maritime lawyer. For a free consultation, you can reach us toll free at (877) 551-3212.