If you work in the maritime industry, the Jones Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) help protect you and preserve your rights and livelihood if you are injured on-the-job. When injuries occur, it is important that you know how to file a maritime injury lawsuit, and what your rights and responsibilities are.
How to File a Maritime Injury Lawsuit
Before you make the decision to file a maritime injury lawsuit, you should consult an attorney who can help determine which laws apply to you, and how best to proceed with your injury case. A general overview of the process of filing a maritime injury lawsuit may consist of the following:
- Preparing Your Case: The first step in filing any lawsuit is preparing your case. Your attorney will gather information from you and other sources, and will research applicable laws in order to draft the complaint, also called a petition. These documents, known as “pleadings”, are what gets filed with the Clerk of Court to initiate a legal claim.
- Summons: After the court has filed the pleadings, a summons will be issued to notify the named defendants that they are being sued. The summons and a copy of the complaint or petition are delivered to the defendant by a third party, or via the mail.
- Legal Process: After filing pleadings and notifying the defendant, the legal process will continue with a series of answers, requests for information (called interrogatories), filing of motions and additional documents, and communications between applicable parties. This process can be lengthy, but it is important that you have patience and work closely with your attorney to keep momentum going.
- Resolution: The next step in the maritime injury lawsuit process is pursuing resolution, or recovery. Most maritime injury cases are resolved through settlements, but some do proceed to trial. If you win your lawsuit, resolution may include compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other losses if applicable. There is not a “cookie-cutter” process or resolution for injury cases, and what you can expect here will depend on your case.
Understand Your Legal Rights
Understanding how to file a maritime injury lawsuit can be complicated. Fortunately, you are not alone. If you have questions about your rights or legal options, visit our contact form. Our team will review your information and contact you to schedule your no-obligation consultation. Follow this link to learn more about maritime attorneys.