Maritime Accidents & Injury

Helping Injured People Get Financial Recovery

Maritime law differs greatly from land-based laws, especially in the area of personal injury. Different types of compensation are available to injured people based upon their status as workers or passengers. State law also allows injured people — and families who have lost a loved one — to seek compensation from workers' compensation and with wrongful death claims.

The Bluestein Law Firm, P.A., represents people in maritime accident and injury cases. Maritime injury attorney S. Scott Bluestein is devoted exclusively to the practice of admiralty and maritime law.

For skillful, thorough and experienced legal help, contact the Bluestein Law Firm in Charleston, South Carolina, to schedule a free initial consultation by calling toll free 866-428-4030.

We represent clients in South Carolina and throughout the United States.

Damages Available in Maritime Personal Injury Cases

There are three categories of people who may suffer an injury at sea or on navigable waters: seaman, other maritime workers, and passengers.

Seamen are entitled to bring job-related offshore injury claims under general maritime law and under the Jones Act for maritime accidents.

  • General maritime law provides for a seaman to receive "maintenance and cure," regardless of who was at fault. Maintenance is the cost of the seaman's room and board while living ashore. Cure is payment of medical expenses until a doctor indicates future medical treatment will no longer be curative.
  • Under the Jones Act, if an employer's negligence (or a defect in the employer's equipment) is the cause of injury in whole or in part, the seaman can recover for medical care not paid as cure, loss of income not paid as unearned wages, out-of-pocket expenses, past, present and future pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, future medical expenses and future loss of earnings. These same damages can be obtained in an unseaworthiness claim.

Other maritime workers include longshoremen, harbor workers, harbor pilots, marina employees, defense contractors working on military naval bases, guards, firemen, electricians, etc. Under the Longshore Act, these workers can access more benefits than workers' compensation. Like workers' comp, the worker does not have to prove fault in a maritime accident. Workers are entitled to receive lifetime medical care for their injuries, including treatment that makes pain more tolerable. They can receive mileage reimbursement to and from medical treatment and, in some cases, can be reimbursed for attorney's fees.

Unlike workers' comp, the Longshore Act allows employees to sue their employer if negligence of a vessel's owner, operator, or crew caused injuries or death. The worker can sue for medical expenses, lost wages and loss of earning potential, pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, out-of-pocket expenses, and punitive damages.

Passengers injured on recreational boats including fishing boats, cruise ships, pleasure boats and Jet Skis can bring a personal injury lawsuit for the following kinds of damages:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages, including future loss of wages for ongoing disability
    and future loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish (a person can recover damages even if there is no physical contact, so long as plaintiff witnesses peril or harm to another and is also threatened with physical harm)
  • Disfigurement due to scarring or loss of a limb
  • Cost for the loss of services the injured person previously provided to his or her family and loss of consortium (love, companionship)
  • Punitive damages if the accident was caused by intentional or reckless disregard for others

Contact our Charleston Law Office Today

For prompt, professional and responsive legal help after a maritime accident, contact our South Carolina law office online for a free consultation and case evaluation. You may also call us at 843-577-3092 or toll free at 866-428-4030.