Maritime & Admiralty Law Claims
At Cueria Law Firm, our maritime lawyer has vast experience in handling cases involving maritime injuries. Admiralty law, also known as maritime law, includes a combination of United States and international law that governs incidents that occur on navigable waters.
“Navigable” means that the waters must be used or are capable of being used as a means of transportation for goods and passengers participating in commercial activity. There are certain requirements that must be met in order for a maritime or admiralty claim to proceed.
When it comes to working in the maritime industry, the employment positions come with a high-risk of injury or death. Large equipment and heavy loads are dealt with on a large vessel which can be dangerous within itself, not to mention the difficult conditions on the water that can lead to even more risk.
Because of this, it is important that you contact an attorney for assistance when injured as a seaman on a vessel.
Filing a Maritime Claim
When you suffer an injury while working as a seaman, it is important to know your legal rights if you are injured while working in the maritime industry. A seaman is a member of the crew on a vessel who faces the potential dangers of the sea while working. Likewise, any individual who is employed or participating in work in any capacity on board a vessel would qualify as a seaman. However, there are more strict requirements for a seaman entitled to compensation under the Jones Act, discussed below. Here is what you need to know about filing a maritime claim.
Generally, the following people can file maritime injury claims:
- Jones Act seaman;
- Maritime workers;
- Harbor workers;
- Oil rig workers;
- Tugboat workers;
- Barge workers;
- Workers in the Gulf of Mexico; and
- Workers on the Mississippi River.
You may also qualify to file a maritime claim if you’ve been injured while working on any of the following:
- Oil rig;
- Construction barge;
- Floating crane barge;
- Cargo ship;
- Crew vessel;
- Supply vessel;
- Fishing vessel; and
- Other floating vessels/structures.
Are you a Jones Act seaman?
The Jones Act protects seamen when they are working offshore and are injured due to their employer’s negligence. In order to be eligible for compensation under the Jones Act, the employee must fall within the classification of a “seaman,” meaning the employee must both contribute to the work and function of the vessel and the diver’s work must account for at least 30% on the vessel.
What is maintenance and cure?
Typically under general maritime law, when a seaman is injured at sea, they will need medical care and time off of work during their recovery. Maritime law provides for the doctrine of maintenance and cure under which seaman are entitled to receive benefits for living expenses and reasonable medical costs from their employer, regardless of the fault of the injury, meaning these benefits are provided even if the seaman negligently caused his own injuries or if the injury was sustained due to another’s negligence.
“Maintenance” refers to the benefits provided for living expenses like food, rent, and utilities, whereas “cure” covers the reasonable medical costs of your treatment including doctor visits, hospital bills, X-rays, testing, prescriptions, and physical therapy. An injured seaman who is entitled under the law to maintenance and cure benefits, but is nonetheless denied such benefits, can also recover attorney’s fees.
What is an unseaworthy vessel?
Various parts of maritime law deal with issues regarding making a vessel seaworthy. Under these laws, the owners of sea vessels have to abide by a variety of regulations to ensure their boats are safe for their employees. Thus, the vessel, its crew and its appurtenances must be reasonably fit for their intended purpose to be seaworthy. Furthermore, the employer has a duty to provide a seaman employee with a reasonably safe place to work, which includes inspecting the vessel for hazards, providing gear and tools sufficient to perform his assigned vessel duties, and training him on how to safely perform assigned vessel chores.
Undermanning or assigning an insufficient number of men to perform a particular task can constitute negligence under the Jones Act and/or may be an unseaworthy condition under the general maritime law. A vessel is unseaworthy if the injured seaman proves that the vessel owner failed to provide a vessel, including equipment and crew, which is reasonably fit for the purposes for which it is to be used.
Financial Compensation for Maritime and Admiralty Claims
Depending on your situation, you may receive compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages (including overtime)
- Physical disability
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Mental disability
- Property damages
- Loss of fringe benefits
Consulting an Attorney For Your Maritime Claim
After an accident on a vessel as a seaman, the process of filing a claim is much more difficult than one would think because of the strict requirements for entitlement to compensation under the Jones Act. The laws that govern maritime accidents can be difficult to understand, nonetheless without the guidance of an experienced maritime attorney.
If you’ve been hurt in a maritime accident on or near a vessel, it is best to contact an experienced personal injury attorney after receiving medical care. The team of lawyers at the Cueria Law Firm, LLC has decades of experience handling personal injury and maritime cases, including those involving Jones Act. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.