The immediate aftermath of a serious collision or casualty is a time when there is no substitute for experience. The initial investigation and the evidence gathered in the wake of a casualty can have a critical impact on the outcome of the matter. Crewmembers and witnesses should be interviewed promptly, and often the vessel’s owners and/or crew must be represented in hearings and investigations by the United States Coast Guard or the National Transportation Safety Board.
FHM has a “deep bench” of experienced casualty attorneys who are graduates of maritime academies and have sailed as officers in the Merchant Marine, or served in the U.S. Navy. Formal maritime education, practical seafaring experience, legal training and casualty response experience as counsel have proven invaluable in handling major casualties, where decisions frequently must be made early on regarding the direction of the case.
Our attorneys have represented clients in connection with all types of casualties, both domestically and internationally, ranging from minor groundings to the most complex collisions, involving general average, salvage and limitation of liability issues. We have extensive experience in representing clients at USCG and NTSB hearings. This background and experience enables us to provide sound, practical advice in the initial stages of a casualty through to conclusion.
We believe that casualties must be managed – not just litigated. Some cases must inevitably be tried, but others should unquestionably be settled. Our goal, based on our experience, is to work with our clients to develop the best strategy for each particular case, consistent with the facts and law of the case and with the client’s business objectives.