We talk a lot about maritime accidents here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A, many of which result from the ship operator’s negligent actions. Some common accidents we usually hear about include cruise ships running aground or cargo vessels experiencing mechanical issues. But while some of these mishaps may miraculously be relatively minor, there are a number of incidents that result in serious injuries, especially for crew members.
When someone suffers an offshore injury while on board any kind of ship, the results can be catastrophic, largely due to the fact that shipboard medical facilities are atrociously sub-par. Minor injuries, such as bumps and scrapes, can easily be treated, but when a serious accident occurs, victims are often left without any recourse. The truth about offshore injuries is that the vast majority of them can be prevented. Like any kind of maritime accident, most are usually the result of someone’s negligent actions.
As far as passenger injuries go, some of the most common are due to improperly maintained vessels. Cruise and other passenger vessel operators have a responsibility to maintain the safety of those on board, and this includes ensuring a vessel is in proper working condition. Any kind of equipment malfunction can cause a ship to become disabled, and if the vessel crashes, whether due to equipment issues or a mistake on the captain’s part, fatal injuries may occur. Passenger injuries can also result from a lack of security on board a ship. It costs a lot of money to hire experienced security personnel and lifeguards, so cruise lines often cut corners and, in doing so, allow room for crimes to occur without notice. These crimes can be violent in nature, such as aggressive assault or sexual assault, and result in serious injuries as well as severe emotional trauma.
Crew member offshore injuries are even more complex at times. Whether the crew member is working aboard a cruise ship or cargo vessel, there are specific laws in place that require operators to provide safe working environments for seafarers offshore similar to the laws on land. Unfortunately, it is far too often that these laws are violated. Ship operators often allow their crew to work in unstable weather conditions and hazardous shipboard environment, often overworking their crew beyond the point of exhaustion or their own skills and capabilities. The results can be even more catastrophic than for passenger accidents.
Though it would make sense for ships to provide compensation to those who are injured as a result of their own negligence in providing adequate safety on board a ship, cruise lines and other major maritime corporations will fight victims tooth and nail to avoid not only liability for the accident, but to avoid any kind of responsibility in compensating victims. While it may look like a black and white situation, with the vessel operator clearly at fault, these big time companies have a lot of money, exceptionally good lawyers and numerous clauses in both their passenger ticket contracts and crew employment contracts).
This is where an offshore injury lawyer comes into play. An experienced offshore injury lawyer who knows the law and maritime regulations can protect a victim’s rights and help ensure justice is obtained. A knowledgeable attorney can apply the Jones Act, Cruise Passenger Safety Act and a bevy of other laws to the accident at hand and will gather all evidence on the victim’s behalf.
Even if the injuries suffered are minor, victims can obtain a free consultation to discuss their options and rights. Oftentimes, victims may feel intimidated by powerful cruise and cargo operators and may become discouraged to seek legal help. We can’t tell you how many times we have seen offshore injury victims miss out on their opportunity to claim their rightful compensation.
An offshore injury lawyer can help a number of accident victims, from those who have suffered a slip and fall to those who have been permanently disabled due to heavy lifting, falls, fire accidents and dangerous equipment that were left unattended. It is especially important for crew members to seek legal counsel because when an offshore injury occurs during the course of employment, not only can the victim qualify for compensation for pain and suffering, but they may also qualify for lost wages – especially in the event of disability.
There are even times when the dependents of a seafarer who was fatally injured may qualify for compensation, including reimbursement for funeral expenses. Our attorneys here at Lipcon have over 165 years of combined experience representing seamen and cruise passengers and strive to obtain justice for those who were wronged due to the negligent actions of a maritime company or operator. Contact an offshore injury lawyer at our firm if you believe you were the victim of an accident on board a vessel.