When you sustain an injury while working aboard a vessel or while you are a passenger on a cruise ship or boat on open waters, maritime law may provide you with a legal remedy. You could pursue a Jones Act claim if you are a seaman, or an injury claim for cruise ship injuries or sexual assault aboard a cruise.
The problem is, to get compensation for your injuries under maritime law; you generally must be able to prove that you actually sustained the damage. Depending on the basis for your claim, demonstrating how the injury happened and who was at fault can also be of vital importance. Obtaining documentation can be difficult, but it is important in making a successful claim.
Do You Need Documentation to Get Compensation for a Maritime Injury?
To be compensated for many maritime injuries, you will need some type of documentation showing you actually sustained harm and demonstrating how the harm occurred. The types of documentation and what it must show can vary based on the circumstances surrounding the injury.
For example, if an injured seaman wishes to make a Jones Act Claim, he or she will usually be entitled to maintenance and cure, even if no documentation shows employer negligence. The Action if brought within the permissible time limit and with proof of actual harm will survive even with relatively minimal documentation supporting it.
However, if a seaman is seeking additional compensation for non-economic damages based on the negligence of an employer, more evidence will be needed to prove the employer’s failures.
How Can You Get Documentation for a Maritime Injury?
In many cases, the best and often only way to get documentation is to pursue a legal claim against the company that you believe should compensate you for your injuries.
For example, if you want to make a Jones Act Claim based on the unseaworthiness of the vessel you were working on, you may need records from the vessel to show to be able to demonstrate that lapses in maintenance led to what resulted in your injury. The company that operates the vessel will not hand over these documents to you, but a maritime attorney can help you to obtain them in the discovery process of your lawsuit.
If you are injured aboard a cruise ship that is out at sea, conducting an investigation and gathering proof of injury can also be very difficult. The cruise line should have a doctor on board to conduct an examination and prepare medical records showing proof of injury, but the doctor works for the ship and not for you, so even getting full and accurate medical records can often be a difficult experience.
Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. can assist you in gathering the documentation that you need both to prove how your injury happened and to show the extent of your loss.
Proving both of these things can be vital to getting fair compensation for damages. Give us a call as soon as possible so we can provide assistance with documenting your injuries and building a strong damage claim.