If you were injured in a maritime accident off the coast of Clearwater, FL, it’s important to seek legal advice quickly. Federal maritime laws may apply in addition to Florida personal injury and workers’ compensation laws. An experienced Clearwater maritime accident lawyer at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers can help you fight for the full compensation you deserve. Call us at (727) 493-4418 to get legal assistance.
Our lawyers have been fighting for injured clients like you since we opened our doors in 2001. Collectively, our lawyers have over 119 years of experience handling complicated personal injury claims such as Clearwater boating accidents, brain injury cases, slip and fall cases, Clearwater medical malpractice cases, negligent security cases, and many more.
Contact our law offices in Clearwater, Florida today to learn more about how we can help you. Your first consultation is always free, so schedule your free consultation today.
How Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Maritime Accident in Clearwater
At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand how frustrating an injury can be. The recovery process can be emotionally and physically draining. Serious injuries can also quickly drain your bank account and leave you in a tough financial situation.
It’s important to hire an experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyer who knows how to protect you.
When you hire our legal team to handle your legal issues, we will:
- Investigate to determine why you got hurt and who was responsible
- Identify the laws that apply in your case
- Hire experts in various fields to help us understand the more complex issues that arise
- Carefully evaluate your case to identify the benefits you should be receiving
- Calculate your case value
- Protect you if your claim for compensation is challenged or denied
- Negotiate with the insurance companies for a fair compensation package
Our Clearwater personal injury attorneys are always available to sit down and discuss your case. If you have questions about your legal rights after an accident at sea, give us a call today. Your case evaluation is completely free of charge.
Maritime Accidents: An Overview
The maritime industry is critical to Florida’s economy. In fact, Florida ranks second in the nation when it comes to maritime industry jobs. The Tampa Bay area is also home to a U.S. tanker fleet.
The phrase “maritime accident” generally refers to accidents that occur on or adjacent to state or federal waterways. Unlike recreational boating accidents, most maritime accidents involve commercial vessels or maritime industry workers.
Our Attorneys in Clearwater Handle All Types of Maritime Injury Claims
At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, we handle all types of maritime accident and injury claims, including those involving:
- Commercial fishing boats
- Shrimp boats
- Cargo ships
- Offshore drilling rigs
- Marine cranes
- Jack-up rigs
- Oil tankers
- Cruise lines
- Accidents on docks or in shipyards
Accidents that occur on commercial vessels can have serious consequences. If you or a loved one were injured, don’t hesitate to reach out to our law firm in Clearwater to learn more about your legal options.
What is My Clearwater Maritime Accident Claim Worth?
Your case value will depend on a number of different factors, including:
- The severity of you injuries
- The laws that apply in your case
- The cost of your medical treatment
- The earnings that you lose during your recovery period
- Whether you’ll ever return to work in the same capacity
Like any car accident victim, it’s important to understand how much your personal injury case is worth. Without that information, you could walk away with less money than you deserve.
At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, we have specialized experience handling complex maritime injury cases. To learn more about your right to compensation, call our law firm in Clearwater for a free case review today.
How Do I Recover Compensation if I Was Injured in a Maritime Accident in Florida?
Most accident victims in Florida can file a lawsuit under state personal injury laws to recover compensation. Injured workers have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Maritime injury cases are different.
Because these accidents tend to happen offshore, Florida workers’ compensation benefits aren’t always available. If they are not, different maritime and federal laws may be available to protect the injured maritime worker.
For example, as an injured worker, you may have rights under one or more of the following laws:
- The Jones Act (commonly known as the Merchant Marine Act)
- Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
- Longshoremen & Harbor Workers Compensation Act
- Death on the High Seas Act
- Limitation of Liability Act of 1851
Of course it is also possible that you could have a valid claim for compensation under Florida personal injury or workers’ compensation laws.
It’s critical to understand which laws apply in your case. Different laws offer different types of benefits to maritime accident victims. The law that governs will also dictate the process for recovering compensation and the deadlines that must be met.
What Types of Compensation Are Available to Victims of Maritime Accidents?
The types of compensation that you receive after a maritime injury will depend on the specific laws that apply in your case.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act protects “seamen” who are injured due to dangerous work conditions. Employers are required to maintain their vessels in seaworthy condition. When they don’t, injured workers are entitled to sue their employers for “maintenance and cure” benefits.
“Maintenance” benefits cover your living expenses while you recover. “Cure” benefits are your medical expenses.
Injured maritime workers are generally able to receive these benefits until they can return to work or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Longshoremen & Harbor Workers Compensation Act
Under the Longshoremen & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), the following types of compensation are available to injured workers:
- Medical expenses
- Temporary total disability benefits
- Temporary partial disability benefits
- Permanent total disability benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
The LHWCA protects many maritime industry workers who aren’t covered under The Jones Act, such as dock workers, shipbuilders and longshoremen.
Those damages may include:
- Medical expenses not covered by maritime law
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical disfigurement and scarring
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium
If you’re covered by state workers’ compensation laws, your benefits will include disability benefits and all reasonable and necessary medical expenses.
Our Lawyers Are Ready to Fight for Compensation for All of Your Maritime Accident Injuries
A maritime accident can leave you struggling with painful injuries for weeks, if not months.
Our Clearwater maritime accident attorneys often represent clients who have suffered:
- Back injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Crushing injuries
- Chest injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Organ damage
- Catastrophic injuries
- Wrongful death of a loved one
If you were injured, seek medical attention quickly. Even if you’re in the hospital or still receiving care, our maritime injury lawyers are here to help. If you can’t make it into the office, we’ll come to you. Just give us a call today to get started.
What Causes Most Maritime Accidents and Injuries in Clearwater, Florida?
Maritime accidents don’t just happen in a vacuum. Most of the time, these accidents occur because someone was careless.
Some of the most common causes of maritime accidents in Clearwater include:
- Lack of proper safety equipment
- Failure to properly train and supervise maritime workers
- Failure to maintain a vessel in safe condition
- Overworking and fatigued workers
- Drug or alcohol use
- Failure to obey industry safety regulations
- Communication failures
- Negligent security
- Defective work equipment or tools
- Malfunctioning equipment and mechanical failures
- Trip and fall accidents
The common element in most maritime industry cases is negligence. Negligence means that someone breached their duty of care and someone else was injured because of it.
If you or a loved one were injured due to someone else’s negligence, seek legal advice right away. You could be entitled to compensation to help you get through this difficult time.
How Long Do I Have to File a Maritime Injury Claim After an Accident in Clearwater?
The statute of limitations in your case depends on the laws that apply. Under Florida law, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you were injured prior to March 24, 2023, you have four years to take legal action.
Jones Act claims must be brought within three years of your injury. Under the LHWCA, you must report the injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident–or within 30 days of the date that you became aware of a work-related condition.
Missing the deadline means that you’ll be barred from seeking compensation for your injuries. Our lawyers know how to safeguard your right to compensation. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help.
Contact a Clearwater Maritime Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you were injured while working offshore, call Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation today. An experienced Clearwater maritime accident lawyer can help you fight for every dollar you deserve.