What to Look for in a Maritime Lawyer?

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:


Maritime law can be complicated as it involves rules regarding national and international waters. Any maritime lawyer should be well-versed with these rules and should be experienced in handling different types of maritime cases. If you or a loved one has been injured at sea, you can consider this maritime attorney.

Things to Consider When Hiring a Maritime Lawyer

Hiring a good maritime attorney can be an overwhelming experience. Below are things to consider:

Should Focus on The Jones Act and Maritime Injury Cases

A maritime lawyer should have handled several maritime injury cases and be familiar with the Jones Act. They should not just have general knowledge about maritime law. Many lawyers may claim that they know maritime law. But they may not have extensive knowledge about the law and may not be able to do justice to your case. The lawyer should also focus on the Jones Act and understand it thoroughly. If your maritime injury case is a complicated one, they will be able to help you only if they are familiar with the Jones Act.  

Should Have Courtroom Experience

Many attorneys may never enter the court and try cases before juries and judges. Most maritime lawsuits are defended by lawyers or large organizations and insurance companies. Your potential maritime lawyer may have to spend considerable time in court if the issue is not settled out of court. They should have the good courtroom experience to present the case confidently. While there is a chance that your case may be settled out of court, the lawyer should be prepared to go to court and represent you in front of the judge and the jury.  

Should Have Good Testimonials and Reviews

A reliable and experienced maritime lawyer will have clients who readily provide good feedback on their services. Look out for reviews and testimonials from old clients before shortlisting the attorney. Check the lawyers’ website, do a Google search, and check sites like AVVO, a legal directory.

Should Have a Good Team

Your maritime injury case will need people to investigate the case and collect evidence. This will mean speaking to potential witnesses, going through paperwork, checking documents, and gathering other evidence. Your attorney will require a reliable team who can collect your work and medical records, arrange and pay for your medical treatment, hire and work with experts regarding your damages, schedule and take dispositions from witnesses, and organize all the information and documents correctly to present in court. The office staff at your attorney’s office should be experienced in handling maritime cases similar to yours so that they can take care of the paperwork and investigation.

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Should be Invested in Your Case

No matter how experienced, an attorney is, if they are not invested in your case, it will do you no good. Many times, attorneys with financial resources and good staff work on multiple cases at the same time. They may take up your case but will pursue only a few cases seriously. Ensure your potential maritime lawyer is ready to prepare your case and take it to trial if required. They should be focused on your case and should do their best to get you the best outcome possible.

Other Things to Consider When Hiring a Maritime Lawyer

Apart from the things mentioned above, other things that you must consider when looking for a maritime injury lawyer include:

Types of Cases Handled – While maritime injury lawyers may have handled several cases, they should have experience in handling your specific type of case. For instance, if you were injured on an oil rig, you must hire a lawyer that has good experience handling oil rig injury cases.

Success Rate and Results – Speak to the potential lawyers about their success rates for cases similar to yours. Ask them if they settled in or out of court. Try to get an evaluation of your own case.

Communication and Fees – Your lawyer’s fees should fit into your budget. Otherwise, no matter how good the lawyer is, it will be of no use to you. Discuss fees upfront and find out if you can hire a lawyer. Ask the lawyer about their communication policies to ensure you are always updated about your case’s status and can speak to the lawyer easily anytime you have any questions.

While the lawyer may know the ins and outs of maritime law, the final decision is up to you on whether you want to hire them or not. And the lawyer you hire can make or break your case. Take the time to gauge how good the attorney is, ask as many questions as possible, meet the attorney if required, and only then decide whether you want to hire them or not.

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