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Maritime Injury Attorney in Anchorage, Alaska

Working on the water can be dangerous, and maritime injuries are all too common. As such, it is imperative that you know your rights as a seaman in case of an accident or injury.  

If you believe you have been injured due to employer negligence at sea (or someone else’s fault in general), it is vital that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve under the law. Working with an attorney could substantially increase your chances of a successful outcome because maritime laws are more complex than other personal injury laws.  

As a maritime injuries attorney at the Law Office of Jason Skala, LLC, I represent seamen injured on the job in Anchorage, Alaska, and other parts of the state, including Kotzebue, Bethel, and Barrow.  

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Maritime Injuries in Alaska 

Seamen perform a wide range of tasks while working in navigable waters. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. water transportation industry is comprised of approximately 67,000 workers. Unfortunately, many of these workers sustain injuries while performing their duties.  

A maritime injury is any injury sustained by a seaman while working in navigable waters. This includes lakes, rivers, oceans, and bays—anywhere ships or vessels travel for commercial purposes. If you are injured on a waterborne vessel while performing your duties as part of your job—even if that job is recreational—you could qualify for maritime injury compensation. 

The most common types of maritime injuries include slips and falls, crush injuries from falling objects or machinery malfunctions, exposure to hazardous materials like oil or chemicals, burns from fires onboard ship or from welding accidents, drowning (or near-drowning), and illnesses caused by exposure to toxins or vibration aboard a vessel. All of these can cause severe physical and mental trauma that can lead to long-term disability. 

Possible Causes of Maritime Injuries 

Before you pursue financial compensation, you must first identify the cause of your injuries. Here are some of the most common causes of maritime injuries.  

1. Improper Training  

The majority of maritime accidents can be traced back to improper training or a lack thereof. Training should cover all aspects of safety protocols related to equipment, vessels, and hazardous materials. If a seaman is not properly trained on how to safely operate a piece of machinery or detect potential problems with equipment, it could lead to an accident that results in serious injury or death.  

2. Failing to Detect and Repair Equipment  

Another frequent cause of maritime accidents is failing to detect and repair defective equipment or parts. This includes lifeboats, navigation systems, cranes, winches, and other machinery used for cargo operations or crew activities. It’s important for employers to regularly inspect vessels and components in order to prevent any potential problems from arising that could result in injury.   

3. Overworked Seamen  

It’s essential that seamen get enough rest while onboard a vessel. Fatigue can impair judgment and reaction time which can lead to dangerous situations at sea such as collisions with other ships or objects. Employers should ensure that their workers have regular breaks throughout the day in order to stay alert and focused while working on board a vessel.   

4. Failing to Keep Workers Safe When Adverse Weather Conditions Are Expected 

If the employer or supervisor fails to take precautions against hazardous conditions like extreme weather or strong currents during loading/unloading operations, this could result in an accident that causes injury or death among workers onboard a vessel.  

Proving Negligence in Maritime Injury Claims 

When pursuing a negligence claim, a plaintiff must show that their injury was caused by the defendant’s negligence. In order to do so, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant had a duty of care to them, that this duty was breached, and that this breach caused their injury. In maritime cases specifically, proving negligence can be difficult because of the unique nature of working on or around water. 

The Jones Act is a law that grants seamen special legal protections when injured at sea due to negligence. It allows seamen who are injured due to the negligence of their employer or another crewmember to seek compensation for damages such as medical bills and lost wages. The Jones Act also allows seamen to file claims against vessel owners if they fail to provide safe working conditions or maintain their vessels adequately. 

When filing a maritime injury claim, it is important for claimants to have experienced representation from a skilled maritime injuries attorney who understands the complexities involved in these types of cases. An attorney can help investigate the incident and collect the evidence needed to prove negligence. 

Possible Damages 

In general, workers’ compensation covers medical expenses related to an illness or injury sustained while working in navigable waters in Alaska. However, workers’ comp does not cover pain and suffering or punitive damages associated with the incident—for that, you may need to pursue a personal injury claim against either another party involved (like the owner of the vessel) or your employer (if they were negligent).  

Generally speaking, personal injury claims take into account both economic losses like lost wages due to an inability to work and non-economic losses like pain and suffering associated with the accident or illness

Maritime Injuries Attorney Serving Anchorage, Alaska

If you have been injured while working in navigable waters in Alaska due to someone else’s negligence (or even your own) there are legal remedies available to you in order to recover damages. As a maritime injuries attorney in Anchorage, Alaska, I can help guide you through this process so that you receive the best possible outcome for your case. Contact the Law Office of Jason Skala, LLC today to set up a free consultation.