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If you have been injured while working on a ship, we can help you. Our maritime attorneys are experienced in the investigation and prosecution of crew member injury and wrongful death claims. We are known for our responsiveness, thorough and hands-on litigation style, investigative and negotiating skills, and our accessibility to our clients. We go wherever you need us to be.
You may be entitled to benefits under the Jones Act, which is a federal maritime statute encompassing a very substantial portion of U.S. maritime and admiralty law. The Jones Act defines the legal obligations and duties between a seaman and his or her employer and the law for the claims of crew members injured while working on the ship. Jones Act claims are very complicated, and not a field of law that many attorneys specialize in.
Under the Jones Act, if you are injured or become ill while serving on a ship, your employer or ship owner is obligated to pay maintenance and cure, regardless of whether your employer is at fault. Maintenance is a daily rate that is designed to replace the living benefits you have while on the vessel, such as food, lodging and utilities. The amount paid to each individual varies by contract.
Cure is your employer’s or vessel owner’s obligation to pay your medical expenses associated with the injury or illness. Cure is owed until your doctor can do no more to heal your condition, which is known as reaching maximum recovery.
You are entitled to maintenance and cure regardless of the cause of your injury. You do not have to prove that the illness or injury resulted from your employment, or that anyone was at fault.
A maritime employer’s failure to pay maintenance and cure is actionable, and, if the refusal is willful, it can result in a claim for attorney fees and punitive damages. A three-year statute of limitations applies to maritime claims under general maritime law, including those for maintenance and cure. Lawsuits are filed against an employer under the Jones Act in state or federal court, depending on the state. You may or may not be entitled to a jury trial, depending on the jurisdiction, therefore, selecting the proper place to file suit is critical. Our maritime lawyers can help you in selecting the correct jurisdiction to file your lawsuit.
Negligence exists when an employer is even slightly careless in causing an injury. Your employer may also be liable for violating its duty to prove a seaworthy vessel and crew. If the vessel is not fit for its intended purposes or is equipped with defective gear, including tools, large equipment and even toilets, or the crew is incompetent or of an inadequate size, it may constitute employer negligence. The employer may also be liable if you are assaulted by a fellow crew member.
Damages for injuries caused by employer negligence or unseaworthiness under the Jones Act include pain and suffering, lost earnings, medical expenses and loss of the ability to lead a normal life.
The Jones Act applies to
officers, crew members, entertainers, on nearly every type of vessel or ship, including:
Longshoremen, harbor workers, shipbuilders, ship repair personnel, and fixed platform workers are not covered by the Jones Act, as they fall under other maritime laws and are entitled to different remedies. If you are a longshoreman, we can help. Our Florida Maritime attorneys help seamen injured on vessels out at sea or in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Tampa, Port Canaveral, Panama City, Tampa, Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach and throughout the United States.