Lawyer Monthly - February 2023

Next, the legal practitioner handling wrongful death and personal injuries in the maritime and general admiralty arena will encounter challenges in obtaining detailed accident reporting by local, state or international organisations related to employee and maritime industries safety. Coast Guard incident reporting, United States OSHA reporting and investigation, as well as their overseas counterparts’ required reporting of incidents, is often inadequate and not generated to assist the injured worker or family of a wrongfully killed passenger, crew member or maritime seaman. Where root cause analysis is helpful and should be a very detailed and factual analysis by the investigating agency for the international port, association, or government, lawyers often will find these reports will customarily blame the injured employee or crew member. Most international large vessel owners and contractors have their own internal accident reporting forms and investigation, which have been vetted by the defence and insurance industry to make certain there is ample ability for the company and its management to absolve itself of civil liability and jeopardy while setting up legal defenses such as contributory negligence, act of God or nature, and other blameless reasons for the injury producing incident. Most witnesses related to the company will not be forthcoming or eager to assist an injured employee that is preparing for litigation against their employer. While this is human nature, it thwarts continuing safety improvements in the maritime industry and will continue to stifle progress and safety advances in the very dangerous maritime industry. Understanding the differences between the various state and federal laws is critical to effectively prosecuting the case for an injured or wrongfully killed employee, passenger, or crew member. Knowledge of the interplay between the Death on the High Seas Act and the Jones Act is essential, as well as general maritime law for injury and wrongful death cases. Like any state litigation in wrongful death or personal injury, it is helpful to know what must be proven under the Jones Act or Death on the High Seas Act in state or federal court so your investigation and discovery can be tailored specifically to obtaining provable and admissible evidence far in the future in the presiding court. Notice of unseaworthiness, perils, defects, and a lack of job safety analysis or job hazard analysis and corroborating inadequate training by a maritime owner or employer is critical to overcoming the challenges facing a plaintiff’s attorney in such litigation. EXPERT INSIGHT 41 About Adam Lotkin Adam Lotkin has been practicing law for nearly 28 years and does so with the passion for justice. Adam has helped thousands of clients obtain justice for personal injury and other grievances and has been lead counsel in over 120 jury trials in the Commonwealth of Virginia and Federal Courts. He has also served on the Board of Governors for the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association for nearly a decade and has been an active part of various trial advocacy associations, including the Maritime Lawyers Association. About Rutter Mills LLP Rutter Mills LLP is a Virginia-based law firm specialising in personal injury, auto accidents, workers’ compensation, social security and maritime injuries. Contact Adam Lotkin Partner Rutter Mills LLP 160 West Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510, USA Tel: +1 757-622-5000 E:

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mjk3Mzkz