As a sailor, seaman, and other maritime worker, you are entitled to a safe working environment. This encompasses many different things, from being provided with personal protective gear to security measures that prevent physical and sexual violence.
Maritime employers need to recognize and acknowledge the risk of physical and sexual assaults out at sea. They need to take steps not only to prevent these acts of violence, but also to ensure you and other employees know your rights and have a way to make a claim. If you were physically or sexually assaulted while working and suffered injuries, you may have the right to pursue compensation.
If you were assaulted out at sea, contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500. We will help you recover compensation for maritime assault injuries based on the Jones Act or other maritime law. When necessary, we can represent you in filing a lawsuit against your maritime employer.
Maritime Workers Are at Risk of Assault
Maritime workers are at risk of being injured during a physical or sexual assault. Some of the most common assault risks involve:
- Sexual assault and rape
- Fist fights
Sexual assaults and rape can occur on commercial vessels and offshore platforms. Men and women working on vessels may be assaulted by coworkers. Sexual assaults are most commonly reported by women passengers on cruise ships. Cruise ship crewmembers are also at risk of harm from passengers.
Physical fights, stabbings, and shootings often take place on private and commercial vessels and offshore facilities and platforms among crewmembers. Some of these incidents involve alcohol and controlled substances. Other arise due to uncontrolled bullying, anger, and aggression.
Additionally, assault on the high seas can be related to other crime, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, robbery, and piracy. Seamen can be injured when others board their vessels or offshore locations.
Injuries Associated With Maritime Assaults
If you were physical or sexually assaulted while working on a cruise ship, a commercial vessel, or an offshore platform, you may be diagnosed with:
- Penetrating wounds due to being stabbed or shot
- Broken bones
- A concussion or more severe traumatic brain injury
- Hypoxic or anoxic brain injury (oxygen deprivation)
- Soft tissue injuries
- Lacerations and bruises
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Genital injury due to sexual assault
- Sexually transmitted infection
- Forced pregnancy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Other psychological trauma
Pursuing Compensation for Assault Injuries in the Maritime Industry
If you suffered maritime assault injuries, you should talk with an attorney about pursuing compensation under the Jones Act. This federal law is meant to provide adequate compensation for seamen who are injured while working out at sea.
Under the Jones Act, you can sue your employer for negligence. Following an assault, you may argue that your employer failed to provide a reasonably safe working environment and protect you from this type of harm.
You employer may have had notice that another crew member was harassing and bullying you, yet your supervisors took no action to stop it or prevent the situation from escalating. Your employer may have hired a crew member with a history of committing rape or sexually motivated crimes. Your employer may have known a crew member had a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Or, your employer may have taken no steps to be on the lookout for and defend against piracy.
By filing a Jones Act lawsuit in federal court, you can demand fair compensation for your:
- Medical expenses, including future medical bills;
- Physical pain;
- Mental anguish;
- Lost wages;
- Physical limitations or disability;
- Reduced earning capacity; and
- Vocational training.
Do You Suspect Recklessness or Intentional Misconduct on the Part of Your Employer?
If you file a lawsuit based on the Jones Act, you can receive compensation if you establish your employer’s negligence. However, you may believe the assault and your injuries was not the result of mere carelessness. Instead, you may have evidence your employer was reckless in regard to your safety or acted maliciously.
If you can prove your employer is guilty of intentional misconduct or that your employer acted with a willful and wanton disregard for your safety, then you can demand punitive damages.
These damages are not meant to compensate you for your physical or psychological injuries or for your financial losses. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and dissuade the party from behaving that way again.
Contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. for Advice
If you were physically or sexually assaulted while working onboard a vessel, contact our experienced maritime lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. as soon as possible. Far too many assaults that occur on the high seas go unreported. You deserve more. Do not be afraid to speak up, talk with a lawyer about your rights, and pursue compensation for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries. We will guide you each step of the way through a Jones Act lawsuit.