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What Do You Do After a Maritime Accident?

April 16, 2023

How Can Your Actions Following a Maritime Accident Protect Your Legal Rights?

As a maritime worker, you understand the risks inherent in your work, but do you know what to do if you’ve been injured in a maritime accident? By following the proper steps and seeking the advice of a skilled maritime accident lawyer, you can avoid endangering your access to the compensation and/or benefits you are entitled to. Read on for an explanation of the most important actions you can take and how they can benefit you following an on-the-job injury.

What Should You Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Maritime Accident?

The time after a maritime accident can be chaotic, and you may be uncertain about what to do next. However, your choices during this period can directly impact your ability to recover compensation and the value of your claim. Taking the following steps post-accident can safeguard your rights to compensation and benefits that can be crucial to you and your family as you go through the healing process.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

As with any accident, your first order of business following a maritime accident should be to protect your health. If your injury is severe, seek emergency medical attention. Even if you don’t feel injured after the incident, you should still get a prompt medical evaluation. Some severe injuries, including life-threatening brain trauma and internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent due to the effects of adrenaline in your system. Back and neck injuries are notorious for delayed pain because the damaged tissues may swell over time and pinch nerves. Getting proper medical treatment right away can prevent your injury from getting worse.

The doctor’s evaluation and diagnosis provides necessary evidence of your injuries and ties them to your accident. Be sure to inform the doctor that your visit is related to an accident at your workplace.

Notify Your Employer

You should personally inform your employer of your maritime accident in a timely fashion if they are not already aware of it. You may need to complete forms or make a formal report if your workplace requires it, but you should speak with a lawyer before signing anything. If you need hospitalization or emergency treatment, a phone call explaining the situation will usually suffice until you have healed enough to make a more official report. Never assume that a co-worker has told your employer about your accident.

Collect Information

Accident scenes are often cleaned up quickly, and vital proof can be lost. To safeguard your claim, you should try to collect as much info as possible near the time of the accidents, including:

  • Photos and videos of the accident scene.
  • Documentation of your injuries.
  • Information about any equipment or tools involved in the incident.
  • Names and contact information of eyewitnesses.

You should also write down or make a voice recording of your recollection of the accident as soon as possible. This allows you to document important details while they are still fresh in your mind.

Contact a Trusted Lawyer

Maritime injury claims are different from traditional workers’ compensation claims. The process for resolving these cases can be highly complex and involves specific steps and deadlines. It is critical to enlist the services of a knowledgeable maritime worker injury lawyer who has experience with these types of cases. Your lawyer’s guidance and skills can be invaluable when navigating the claims process and dealing with your employer and their insurer.

Avoid Making Any Statements or Signing Documents

Following your maritime accident, you may receive requests for statements from your employer or their insurance company. You may even get a quick settlement offer from the insurer. You must remember that your employer and the insurance company are not necessarily looking out for your best interests at this time. Anything you say or sign has the potential to damage your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.

To ensure that your legal rights are fully protected, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your lawyer.
  • Never sign documents provided by your employer or their insurer without consulting your lawyer first.
  • Avoid using social media until your case is resolved.
  • Refer the insurance company to your lawyer if they ask for a statement.
  • Do not agree to a settlement offer.
  • If you are uncertain how to respond to a situation that arises, contact your lawyer before taking any action.

What Laws Govern Compensation for Individuals Injured in Maritime Accidents?

Maritime workers engage in potentially dangerous jobs daily as part of their employment. Unfortunately, even with strict safety measures in place, accidents can still occur. In the past, these employees faced challenges when trying to recover compensation or benefits for their injury-related damages because they were not covered by traditional employment laws. However, two crucial acts implemented by the government have made it easier for injured maritime workers to regain their financial stability following accidents.

The Jones Act

As part of the Jones Act, the federal government extended the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) to cover seamen who have suffered an injury while employed on a vessel. Under the FELA, seamen have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employer or co-workers if the incident occurred due to the negligence of others. This includes injuries caused by a vessel that was not seaworthy or a lack of adequate medical care.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)

Individuals who work on docks, piers, drilling rigs, and other areas on or near navigable U.S. waterways are not covered by the Jones Act. However, they are eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits through the LHWCA.

Available benefits include payments for medical care, vocational rehabilitation, and a portion of lost wages after a person suffers a maritime injury at work.

How Can a Maritime Worker Injury Lawyer Assist You?

Maritime law can be complicated, and there are many steps to filing a successful claim following a work-related accident. The requirements for filing can vary based on your employment, where the accident occurred, and other factors. An experienced California maritime injury attorney can investigate your accident, collect evidence to support your claim, and help you get the compensation and/or benefits you deserve. Contact The Law Offices of Preston Easley at 310-361-9484 to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer who is ready to defend your legal rights.

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Cases We Handle

  • maritime worker working on ship

    Longshoremen & Shipyard Workers

    Longshoring and shipyard work are very dangerous occupations. Workers in these fields, along with marine construction workers, are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, a very generous no-fault workers’ compensation system. It covers medical expenses, temporary disability, permanent disability and vocational rehabilitation.

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  • sea vessel docked at US shore

    Jones Act Seamen

    A seaman is a member of the crew of a vessel or group of vessels under common ownership or control. The vessel can be anything from a raft to a cargo ship. We represent seamen who work aboard recreational vessels, tugboats, dredges, barges, skiffs, workboats and cargo ships. We also represent seamen who are marine construction workers

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  • Diving

    We represent people who have been injured in SCUBA diving accidents and Commercial diving accidents. We also handle diving boat accidents. Diving can be very dangerous. We successfully represented a commercial diver who was seriously injured while cleaning the propeller of a U.S. Navy ship at Pearl Harbor

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  • accident at construction site and hard hat on floor

    Construction & Industrial Accidents

    Construction and industrial sites can be very dangerous. Although you generally cannot sue your own employer for a construction site or industrial accident (generally workers’ compensation is your exclusive remedy against your employer) there are many circumstances in which you can file a third party lawsuit against an entity other than your employer for an unsafe condition at a work site which causes you to be injured

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  • Forklift and Crane Injuries Lawyer

    Crane & Forklift Accidents

    The Easley firm has extensive experience with crane and forklift accidents and workplace accidents involving dangerous equipment and machinery. These accidents can be caused by operator error and they can be caused by the unsafe and defective condition of the equipment

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  • auto accident involving two cars on a city street

    Motor Vehicle & Truck Accidents

    Motor vehicle accidents can result in serious injury and death. These kinds of accidents can involve automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and unsafe road design and unsafe road conditions

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  • Catamaran Injuries Attorney

    Passenger Vessel Accidents

    Passenger accidents are common on recreational vessels, catamarans, tour boats and cruise ships.  They are frequently caused by rough sea conditions and unsafe conditions aboard the vessels.  The Easley firm has extensive experience in the field of maritime law.  We have made new law in the field of maritime law with numerous precedent setting decisions in the State Appellate Courts, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court

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  • Defense Base Act

    The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act which covers civilian employees of U.S. defense contractors injured overseas, including war zones. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensations Act as extended by the Defense Base Act is a very generous no fault workers’ compensation system

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Areas Where We Practice

Preston Easley is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He served five years of active duty as a Naval officer — three years as a deck officer on a fast frigate and two years as a patrol boat skipper. Mr. Easley also served aboard a tank landing ship in the reserves.




Let Us Get You The Compensation You Deserve

Preston Easley is an experienced lawyer with considerable expertise in handling federal and state personal injury cases. He will aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. Attorney Easley represents victims of serious and fatal accidents involving cars, trucks, construction projects and maritime work.

Construction Workers We Help

  • Crane and Forklift Operators
  • Pile Drivers
  • Scaffold Workers
  • Iron Workers
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Operating Engineers
  • Electricians

Maritime Workers We Help

  • National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) Shipyard Workers
  • Manson Construction Company Workers
  • Manson Dredging Workers
  • Dutra Dredging Workers
  • Commercial Divers
  • Scuba Divers
  • Commercial Fisherman
  • Government Maritime Claims Against the Navy, Army Corps of Engineers, or the US Coast Guard, etc.
  • Marine Construction Workers
  • Offshore Oil and Gas Workers
  • Seamen
  • Shipyard Workers
  • YYK Enterprises, Inc.
  • Pacific Tugboat Service
  • Long Beach Container Terminal
  • Tugboat, Dredge, Longshoremen, and Ferry Workers
  • Barge Crews and Barge Workers
  • Marisco Limited
  • HL Welding
  • SSA Marine
  • Catalina Express
  • R.E. State Engineering
  • Shimmick Construction
  • Nova Group
  • American Scaffolding
  • Safway Scaffolding
  • Kirby Tugs
  • Crowley Tugboats
  • P&R Water Taxi
  • Continental Maritime
  • Pacific Ship Repair
  • Seaward Marine
  • Healy Tibbitts
  • General Construction
  • BAE Shipyards
  • South Coast Welding
  • Matson
  • Pasha
  • Hawaii Stevedores, Inc.
  • McCabe, Hamilton & Renny
  • Young Brothers
  • Sause Bros.
  • Foss Maritime
  • Fenix Marine Services
  • ITS
  • Total Terminals
  • TraPac
  • PCMC
  • Maersk
  • Yang Ming
  • China Overseas Shipping
  • Evergreen

Boating Accidents

  • Catamaran Accidents
  • Charter and Tour Boats
  • Cruise Ship Accidents
  • Passenger Accidents
  • Jet Ski and Personal Watercraft
  • Motorboat Accidents
  • Recreational Accidents
  • Scuba Diving Accidents
  • Speed Boat Accidents
  • Yachts and Sail Boat Accidents
  • Repair Accidents
  • Crew Accidents
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