If you work in the maritime industry and are injured, you may find it helpful to speak with a maritime injury lawyer. The maritime industry does not have the same workers’ compensation coverage for employees that other industries have. That can complicate your ability to get benefits and coverage for your injuries or lost income.
5 Questions to Ask Your Maritime Injury Lawyer
If you decide to contact a maritime injury lawyer, there are some questions you can ask up front to determine if he or she is right for your case. Here are the top 5 questions recommended by Maritime Injury Guide:
1. What is your experience in handling maritime injury claims?
Every lawyer has a different set of skills, education, and experience. If you are suffering a maritime injury, you want to find a lawyer who is educated in maritime injury laws, and who has successfully managed cases for clients. There are many personal injury lawyers out there who can review your case, but maritime injury laws are a very specific and complex area of law.
Your best chance of a successful and favorable outcome is working with a lawyer who has obtained verdicts and/or settlements in cases similar to yours. Look for lawyers who have testimonials or settlements related to The Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), and the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).
2. I live in Florida, can you handle my case?
Maritime injury lawyers often represent clients in other states than where their office is located. Maritime workers may work along the coast or a river, or on an oil rig, but may live in other parts of the United States. Furthermore, many maritime laws are applicable no matter what state you live in.
The goal is finding the maritime injury lawyer that is best for your situation. Maritime Injury Guide, for example, works with clients across the country. You can learn more about legal rights and options in your state by contacting Maritime Injury Guide.
3. Do you have a relationship with expert witnesses?
If the maritime injury lawyer you are considering has experience in maritime claims, he or she should have resources that can work for you. Established and successful law firms have built relationships with expert witnesses in their practice areas. For maritime injury cases, you need a lawyer who has relationships with maritime and medical experts.
Skilled expert witnesses can prove your case and provide valuable insight. In contrast, a lack of expert testimony can reduce your chances of success.
4. Will you be handling my case, or will it be passed to another lawyer?
For personal injury claims, it is very common for your case to be handled by a team of lawyers. You may have one lead lawyer who works with associates or paralegals to manage different aspects of the case. However, some law firms have many lawyers, and sometimes the case will move from one lawyer to another depending on caseload and experience.
Be upfront in asking a lawyer that you consult with if he or she will be working on your case. If there are other lawyers or staff who will be involved, you can ask for their information or ask to meet them before making a decision.
5. What is your fee structure?
There is no question that filing a maritime lawsuit can be expensive. There are legal fees for filing documents, paying salaries, and maintaining office expenses. With this in mind, ask maritime injury lawyers you consult with what the fee structure is. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you are not responsible for any fees up front.
If the lawyer does not work on a contingency fee basis, find out upfront what fees you can expect. Consider these factors:
- What is the lawyer’s hourly rate?
- What are the expected legal fees?
- Are there fees related to trial?
- What office fees will I be charged for?
- Do I have to pay for medical or police reports?
Even though some fees seem small, they quickly add up. Over time, these fees can top tens of thousands of dollars. As a result, these fees can drastically reduce the amount you actually get. Prepare by finding out about fees early on in the process.
Learn More from a Maritime Injury Lawyer
If you have questions about a potential maritime injury claim, contact Maritime Injury Guide. We offer a team of maritime injury lawyers who can certainly answer your questions and find the best options for your potential claim. Whether you work in the chilly waters of New York, the warm Gulf waters of Texas, or in one of California’s many ports, Maritime Injury Guide is here to help.