Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can have serious consequences. Even concussions—which are classified as “mild” TBI—can be expensive and have long-term effects, while “moderate” and “severe” TBI can impact all aspects of your life.

Our maritime lawyers regularly speak with individuals who are coping with the effects of TBI. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury in a maritime accident, here’s what you need to know about protecting your family’s legal rights:

Understanding the Lifetime Costs of a Maritime Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Treatment for traumatic brain injuries is expensive—there’s simply no other way to put it. Diagnostic testing, treatment, therapy and prescriptions all contribute to the financial costs of recovering from a TBI. Over a patient’s lifetime, these costs can easily climb into the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars.

But these are not the only costs you will incur if you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in a maritime accident.

In many cases, TBI patients won’t be able to work during the recovery process. Some TBI patients won’t be able to return to work at all. Add in TBI patients’ pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life, and it’s not hard to see why it is so important for maritime accident victims and their families to fight for the financial compensation they deserve.

Understanding Your Family’s Legal Rights After a Maritime Accident

When you or a loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury in a maritime accident, your family’s legal rights depend on several factors. But, one of the most important factors is whether the accident was work-related. Different laws apply to work-related and recreational boating accidents—and this is one of several reasons why it is important to have experienced maritime lawyers on your side.

On-the-Job Accidents Resulting in Maritime TBI

In cases involving work-related maritime accidents, workers and their families will most often be able to file claims under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal maritime law that applies when seamen get injured on the water.

Under the Jones Act, maritime workers who qualify as seamen can obtain “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits when they get injured on the job. This means that they can file claims regardless of how they get injured (with a few very limited exceptions). Maintenance and cure benefits cover injured seamen’s medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages, and filing for these benefits is an important step toward managing the costs of a maritime TBI.

The Jones Act also allows injured seamen and their families to recover additional fault-based financial compensation in many cases. If your (or your loved one’s) employer was even slightly negligent in causing the accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation for the full lifetime costs you and your family will incur. This includes not only full compensation for your medical costs and lost earnings but for your pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-financial costs as well. This additional compensation is also available in cases involving accidents caused by unseaworthy vessel conditions.

Cruise and Recreational Boat Accidents Resulting in Maritime TBI

In cases involving cruise and recreational boat accidents resulting in maritime traumatic brain injuries, the Jones Act does not apply. Instead, accident victims and their families must file claims based on the general principles of maritime law.

Recovering financial compensation for a TBI resulting from a cruise or recreational boat accident generally requires evidence of negligence. In both work-related and recreational maritime accidents, negligence can take many forms—including (but not limited to):

  • Boating with inadequate experience
  • Boating under the influence or while distracted
  • Negligent boat operation
  • Negligent entrustment
  • Negligent vessel maintenance or repair

If you can prove that the cruise line, another boat captain, a charter company or boat club, or any other business or individual was at fault in the accident, you may be entitled to full compensation. Proving fault requires a prompt investigation and a thorough understanding of the law, so it is important to hire a team of maritime lawyers to get to work on your case as soon as possible.

Next Steps for Filing a Maritime TBI Claim

Regardless of whether you have a work-related claim or you (or a loved one) suffered a TBI in a cruise or recreational boating accident, there are some important steps you should try to take as soon as possible. Taking these steps will help preserve your legal rights, and it will help give your maritime lawyers the best chance to recover the financial compensation you and your family deserve.

If you or a loved one has suffered a concussion or any other type of traumatic brain injury in a maritime accident, you should:

  • Seek Treatment Promptly – No matter how or where the accident happened, you have the right to see a doctor of your choosing. If you have not done so already, you should see a doctor for a diagnosis and to begin treatment as soon as possible.
  • Keep as Much Information as Possible – If you have photos or videos from the accident site on your phone, keep these to share with your maritime lawyers. Also, take notes to record everything you can remember about the accident while the details are still fresh in your mind.
  • Schedule a Free Initial Consultation – Your first meeting with a lawyer is completely free and without obligation. If you have a claim, your lawyer will need to investigate promptly, so it is important to schedule your free initial consultation as soon as possible.

Contact Our Maritime Lawyers for a Free Initial Consultation

Do you need to know more about filing a maritime TBI claim? If so, we invite you to get in touch. To speak with one of our maritime lawyers about your legal rights in confidence, please call 800-499-0551 or request a free initial consultation online today.

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