Legal Help After Suffering Injuries on the Water
Admiralty law, also called “maritime law” is a distinct body of laws that includes both U.S. and international statutes. The legal matters covered by this body of law include injuries to seamen, injuries occurring on cruise ships, and a range of recreational activities such as parasailing or others in the oceans, lakes and rivers in the U.S.A.
Enjoying a tour by boat, such as those provided by Oak Island Boat Tours, or taking a ride on the Bald Head Island Ferry, can be a great way to take in North Carolina’s scenery. But even the smallest mistake can make things take a wrong turn, and when they do, passengers may be harmed. When that is the case, there are times when the tour boat company or the operator of the tour boat may be held legally responsible to pay compensation for that harm.
In any situation, a boat operator must ensure that he or she is doing everything possible to keep passengers safe at all times. For tour boats and other commercial boats, that responsibility is heightened because people have paid money to be on the boat.
As such, tour boat operators have certain responsibilities to their passengers. These include:
- Making sure the boat is equipped with one appropriately sized personal flotation device for each person on board, when the vessel is less than 40 feet in length.
- Commercial vessels longer than 26 feet in length, such as the Bald Head Island Ferry, must have at least one ring life buoy on board.
- Class 2 vessels (those that are between 26 and 40 feet in length) must carry one B-11 fire extinguisher on board, or two B-1 extinguishers, unless they have a built-in extinguisher system that has been approved by local authorities.
- Class 3 vessels (those that are longer than 40 feet in length) must carry three B-1 extinguishers, one B-1 extinguisher, and one B-11 fire extinguisher. Even when these vessels have an approved built-in extinguisher system, they must still carry two B-1 extinguishers and one B-11 extinguisher.
- A vessel that is longer than 40 feet in length but less than 65.5 feet must have a sound-producing device that can be heard for one half-mile.
- Any vessel that is traveling at night must have approved navigational lights displayed at all times between sunset and sunrise. When vessels less than 165 feet in length are anchored at night, they must have a white light that is visible all around them and it must be visible from two miles away.
- The captain of a tour boat may not operate at unsafe speeds, even when there is no speed limit posted.
These precautions are put into place to keep everyone on the tour boat, including the crew, safe in the event of an emergency.
Injuries to Seamen on U.S. Waters
Those who work as seamen who have suffered injuries, or family members who have lost a loved one in an accident on U.S. waterways, can seek justice with help from a skilled personal injury lawyer. These cases are most frequently covered under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act (formerly called the Merchant Marine Act) gives any seamen or crewmember of a vessel the right to file a personal injury claim. Offshore employment is specifically defined as employment in which a person spends at least 30 percent of a work schedule on a U.S. vessel, and their duties clearly contribute to the functioning of the vessel. Under the Jones Act, injured seamen or their families must file a claim within three years of the date that the injury or harm occurred. As the Jones Act is exclusively for those who meet the legal criteria as an offshore worker, injury cases for onshore workers are covered under the LHWCA (Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act).Maintenance and Cure in North Carolina
The types of seamen or crewmember injury or death cases covered by the Jones Act include:
- Reckless or egregiously non-professional actions taken by other seamen or employees that resulted in physical injuries to a seaman or crewmember.
- Cases involving unseaworthy vessels that resulted in injuries and other damages suffered by a seaman or crewmember.
- Unsafe working conditions aboard the vessel that resulted in injuries or death.
- Actions that deviated from the usual course of conduct aboard, leading to injury or death.
Maritime law holds the owners of ships responsible to “cure” an injured seaman or crewmember. The “cure” refers to providing care, treatment, and fair compensation for workers injured or suffering illnesses while performing their duties aboard. The obligation includes medical treatments, medications, necessary medical devices, and paying for the basic costs of living while the injured person recovers, as well as payment of attorney fees.
At The Rhine Law Firm, P.C. our maritime lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of injured seamen and crewmembers. We work hard to get justice for the people we serve, and we are proud to have achieved an extensive track record of success. It is the direct result of our hard work and full personal dedication to our clients.
“Joel Rhine and his staff did everything possible to help us in a very dark period of our lives.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better firm to handle my injury claim. If you do not have confidence with your attorney, you need to contact Rhine Law Firm immediately.”
“Rhine Law Firm went out of their way to make sure that my mother-in-law obtains everything she is entitled to in an injury case.”
“It was a long, arduous process and we cannot thank Joel and the rest of the team at Rhine Law Firm enough.”
“Joel will make sure you are well taken care of. He will fight for you and what you deserve and go to all measures to make sure you get it.”
Luxury cruise liners offer passengers an exciting, pleasure-filled holiday – until something goes terribly wrong. Cruise ship injury cases are more common than most people know; cruise lines work very hard to keep bad publicity to a minimum. An injured passenger has the right to seek full financial compensation for all damages.
Liability and negligence that leads to an injury or death on a cruise ship can be exceedingly complex. It is in your best interests to immediately seek legal representation from a law firm with a history of achieving high value settlements and verdicts, and a great depth of knowledge of maritime law. Contact the Rhine Law Firm, P.C. for cruise ship cases, as well as cases that involve injuries sustained on a local waterway transport, such as on the ferry to Bald Head Island, while parasailing, or other recreational activities.
Our Wilmington maritime lawyers can assist you to file an injury claim in a cruise ship accident as a crewman, seaman, or passenger, on commercial vessels, and a wide range of other seagoing vessels. This includes cases of death on the high seas, injury cases in international waters, cases involving cabotage rights, and other admiralty or maritime law cases of all types.
Call now for a free case evaluation. You need a lawyer who will be available to you from the start of your case through to resolution, and who you can trust to be personally dedicated to the pursuit of justice and full compensation for you.
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