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Maritime Casualty Investigations: How Technological Advances Create Opportunities for Collaboration

Civil litigation seeking recovery for injuries that mariners receive in the course and scope of their employment often draw upon the information obtained by governmental accident investigations. Often, the question that follows “did your employer fill out an accident report?” is: “Did the Coast Guard do an investigation?” The reason why lawyers who represent injured seamen are interested in governmental investigations is the same reason that lawyers who represent maritime companies are interested: We want the truth.

Technological advances within the maritime industry have resulted in marine operations with a constantly evolving degree of complexity-with evolving risk for seaman. Mobile offshore drilling units perform operations at an ever-increasing distance from shore. Liquified natural gas-propelled vehicles challenge traditional safety inspection programs. Moreover, supply chain logistics have created a complex web of employers, charterers, and other potentially responsible parties.

Only through policies and regulations designed to increase collaboration, communication and accountability between the various marine actors and governmental entities can the safety of maritime workers be made a top priority. The search for the truth should dominate over other values in the law of marine casualty investigations. With increased collaboration, communication, and accountability marine companies should be better equipped to identify lessons learned and root causes of accidents and injuries. However, only through continued governmental monitoring of compliance with lessons learned from prior accidents can the maritime community rest assured that it is taking all available steps to prevent a casualty from occurring again.

The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner is the oldest personal injury law firm in Texas. Our lawyers have the experience and skill to navigate the complex system of laws that govern maritime injuries and investigations. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured at sea, call us today for your free consultation at 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884.

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