Sailing Safely: Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts After a Maritime Accident

Experiencing an injury, especially in the unique environment of a maritime vessel, can be both daunting and confusing. As maritime injury attorneys, we feel it is crucial to know what actions can potentially harm your situation, and negatively affect your chances of collecting compensation.

Here are the top 10 things you should avoid doing after sustaining an injury on a vessel:

  1. DO report the accident to the proper authorities as soon as possible. This could be your employer, the ship’s captain, or a maritime authority. Prompt reporting is not just a legal requirement, but also crucial for any future claims.

    DON’T Keep Injuries to Yourself

    Even minor injuries can worsen, and reporting them before leaving the vessel ensures they are officially and properly documented.
  1. DO Prioritize Safety and Injury Treatment: Safety always comes first. If you’re injured, seek immediate medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s crucial to get checked by a medical professional, as some symptoms may not appear immediately.

    Give Recorded Statements Prematurely

    Avoid giving any detailed recorded or written statements about your injury before consulting with a skilled maritime attorney. This ensures that your rights are protected and your statements aren’t used against you.
  1. DO Stay Organized. Keep all your documents, correspondence, medical bills, and other relevant information organized. This will be invaluable if you need to refer back to them for insurance or legal purposes.

    Sign Problematic Paperwork

    Be wary of paperwork that contains inaccuracies, admits fault, waives your claims, or agrees to arbitration. Signing such documents can severely limit your legal options later.
  1. DO File Any Necessary Insurance Claims. This could include health insurance, worker’s compensation, or any specific maritime insurance you have.

    DON’T Blindly Trust Insurance Adjusters

    Remember that insurance adjusters and employers may not always have your best interest at heart. Their primary goal is often to minimize the company’s liability and costs.
  1. DO Document Everything. Record every detail you can remember about the accident, and anything else that might be relevant as soon as possible. Keep a diary of your symptoms and any medical treatment you receive. If you are aware of any previous incidents, be sure to note those as well.

    Leave Without Evidence

    Before leaving the accident scene, take pictures of the location, any involved equipment, and your injuries. This visual evidence can be crucial for any legal claims.
  1. DO Gather Witnesses. Gather the identities and contact information of any witnesses, crew members, or passengers present.

    DON’T Overlook Witnesses

    Their testimonies can significantly support your version of events, and are invaluable for insurance and legal purposes.
  1. DO Consult a Maritime Attorney. Consider consulting a law firm specializing in maritime law, such as the Herd Law Firm located here in Houston. We can advise you on your rights, help you navigate the legal system, and represent you in your claim or lawsuit.

    Compromise on Honesty

    Always be truthful
    in your accounts of the incident. If unsure about a question, it’s better to refrain from answering than to provide misleading or false information.
  1. DO Follow Medical Advice: Follow your doctor’s advice and keep up with all prescribed treatments and check-ups. This is important not only for your health but also for any legal claims – failing to follow medical advice might affect the outcome of these claims.

    Neglect Medical Attention

    Seek medical treatment immediately and provide accurate descriptions of how your injury occurred. Following the doctor’s orders is vital for both your health and any injury claims.
  1. DO Seek Out Support. Being injured can be not just painful and expensive, but frustrating and stressful as well. If you find yourself struggling, seek out counseling or mental health care from a licensed medical professional to help you through the healing process. Your attorney may be able to assist you with this as well.

    Share on Social Media

    Refrain from posting
    about the accident and your injury on social media. Such posts can be misconstrued and used against you in legal proceedings.
  1. DO Familiarize Yourself with Your Legal Rights Under Maritime Law. Depending on your situation, laws such as the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, or international maritime law may apply. Consulting a knowledgeable maritime attorney can provide guidance tailored to the specificities of maritime law.

    Underestimate Your Rights

    Understanding and asserting your rights after an injury is crucial. There are many laws in place that specifically protect the rights of seamen, longshoreman, and other maritime workers.


Navigating the aftermath of a maritime injury requires careful consideration of your actions. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can protect your health and legal rights, ensuring the best possible outcome in a challenging situation.

We at the Herd Law Firm are proud to fight for maritime workers and passengers in all types of personal injury claims. As Houston maritime attorneys, we never waver in our commitment to help these maritime workers and their families when they are injured.


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If you or someone that you know has contracted COVID-19 while on board a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. If so, call the law offices of the Herd Law Firm, PLLC for a risk-free evaluation of your potential case.

Call 713-955-3699 now!

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