Maritime Injury Lawyer or Admrality Lawyer

The Jones Act is a federal law that outlines the scope of liability of vessel operators and marine employers for work-related injuries and death. The Jones Act is not the same as workers compensation. In order to have a valid Jones Act claim, the injured worker must show some negligence or fault on the part of the vessel’s owners, operators, officers, and/or fellow employees or by reason of any defect in the vessel, its gear, tackle, or equipment.

The Jones Act provides an injured seaman a claim for compensation under maritime law against his or her employers for injuries arising from negligent acts of the employer or co-workers during the course of employment on a vessel. Injured workers may also bring a claim against the vessel owner if the vessel was unseaworthy.

An injured worker who qualifies for compensation under the Jones Act can seek to recover the following damages:

(Past Lost Income) Wages lost from the time of the injury to the time of trial

(Future Lost Income) Wages loss in the future

Medical expenses in the past and in the future; and pain, suffering, disfigurement , and mental anguish, in the past and in the future

Only a seaman can recover under the Jones Act. Thus, the first question presented by every maritime case is determining if the injured worker is a seaman. Federal law defines a seaman as a crew member assigned to a specific ?vessel or fleet of vessels.?

Generally, officers and crew members who work on tankers, freighters, jack-up rigs, semi-submersibles, towboats, tugs, supply boats, crew boats, barges, lay barges, and fishing vessels are considered Jones Act seamen, as are crew members on movable or jack-up drilling rigs. Seaman status depends on the individual facts of each case.

Longshoremen, pilots, and those who work on fixed platforms are not seamen, but have other maritime remedies available for injuries, call us today to see if you have a claim under the Longshoreman & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).

Maintenance and Cure Lawyer

“Maintenance” is daily compensation designed to provide the same food and shelter that would have been provided while aboard the vessel. Today, maintenance rates range from $10 to $35 per day.

“Cure” is the obligation of the seaman’s employer to provide medical treatment, prescription drugs, nursing services, hospitalization, rehab & therapy, until the seaman reaches ?maximum medical improvement.? Maximum medical improvement means that the seaman’s condition will not improve any further or he is permanently disabled.

Maintenance and cure are available to a seaman injured on a vessel, regardless of the fault. Once a seaman reaches maximum medical improvement, the vessel owner’s obligation to pay maintenance and cure ceases, regardless of whether the seaman can return to work or not . The seaman has a right to choose his or her physicians and is not required to accept treatment by the ?company doctor.? If an employer refuses to pay maintenance and cure, the employer can be held liable for all damages plus attorneys? fees.


The vessel owner owes every seaman a duty to provide a seaworthy vessel. A ?seaworthy? vessel is one that is a safe place to work and live. A seaworthy vessel should be equipped with appropriate safety gear and equipment, safe recreation facilities, and a competent crew. A seaman can recover if he or she was injured as a result of an unseaworthy condition on the vessel.

A vessel is unseaworthy if a piece of equipment breaks or is inoperable, the vessel’s crew is too small or incomplete, not adequately trained, or a condition such as oil, grease, or rust exists where it is not intended to exist. While a negligence claim focuses on the acts of the seaman’s employer, an unseaworthiness caim is concerned with the condition or adequacy of the vessel itself.

Unlike a Jones Act claim, which is made against the seaman’s employer, an unseaworthiness claim is made against the vessel’s owner. In many cases those actions will be against the same party. A unseaworthiness claim will also bring the vessel?s owner into a lawsuit as an additional source of recovery for the injured seaman.

Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations in a Jones Act case is generally three (3) years from the date of the injury. There are exceptions to this general rule, however such as seaman assigned to vessel owned, operated, or contracted by the United States government. Actions against the vessel owner for unseaworthiness, must also be brought within three (3) years from the date of the seaman’s injury.

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