When a person is injured, he or she must sign a release absolving the party responsible for the injuries from any future lawsuit or claim that may come from the same incident when accepting the settlement. This same rule applies to the maritime industry, as well. However, when it comes to seamen who are protected by the Jones Act and other maritime laws, a release of claim may not be quite as enforceable.
Right to Compensation
Federal laws determine when a seaman can or cannot be compensated for any injuries they get while on board a vessel, as well as whether such releases of claims can be enforced. Whether a release can be enforced typically depends on four things:
- Was the compensation adequate for the injuries and damages that occurred?
- Was the severity of the injuries provided to the seaman, as well as the outcome?
- Were the legal rights of the seaman communicated adequately?
- Was the seaman taken advantage of?
When a Release May be Enforced
A release of claims may be enforceable if the release in question clearly met the requirements above. If an adequate settlement was offered to the injured seaman, the severity of his injuries and the outcome of his injuries was explained adequate, the rights of the seaman regarding his legal options were provided to him, and the seaman was not taken advantage of then the release may be enforceable.
When a Release May Not be Enforced
The opposite is true when it comes to a release not being enforced. In one claim, the court found that the release was not enforceable because the injured party lost four fingers due to an equipment issue. The company paid for the injured man’s medical care and even told him not to return to work until his doctor had released him to do so. The seaman, who was having financial struggles due to being off work, requested to return to work and said he was able to do the duties of his job. The company agreed to pay him a sum of money and have him return to work, but said he could be terminated for any circumstances. When the worker was not able to work once he returned, he sued the company and the court determined that he had been taken advantage of.
Contact an Experienced Texas Maritime Law Attorney Today
If you have been injured in an accident at sea or even on shore, contact the attorneys at Kolodny Law Firm today. We specialize in maritime and admiralty law, a very complex and complicated area of law that you should not try to tackle on your own. We will review your situation and help you understand what your legal rights and options may be so that you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Do not let your finances or your employer dictate the outcome of your potential settlement. Let us handle the paperwork and the hassle so you can focus on your recovery.