Are Cruise Ship Employees Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Miami?
Miami is known as the Cruise Capital of the World—and for good reason. According to Miami-Dade County, PortMiami welcomes more cruise passengers each year than any other port on Earth. Many cruise line employees live in Miami as well. If you live in the area and got injured while working onboard a cruise ship, can you file for workers’ compensation benefits? An experienced Miami cruise ship accident attorney explains:
Ordinary Workers’ Compensation Laws Do Not Apply to Ship-Based Employees
The workers’ compensation laws that apply to most land-based workers do not apply to ship-based employees. This is because these laws exist at the state level, and states do not have jurisdiction offshore.
Instead, ship-based employees (including cruise ship employees) must file their claims under the Jones Act. While filing a claim under the Jones Act serves as a substitute to filing for “ordinary” workers’ compensation benefits, there are some important differences between Jones Act claims and workers’ compensation claims under state law. For example:
- Deadlines – The Jones Act gives cruise ship employees up to three years to file a claim, while land-based employees must report their injuries to their employers within 30 days in order to remain eligible for benefits.
- No-Fault Benefits – Under the Jones Act, the no-fault benefits that are available to cruise ship employees are limited to maintenance and cure. These benefits are less than the no-fault benefits available to land-based employees.
- Jones Act Negligence Claims – While Florida’s workers’ compensation law provides employers with immunity from negligence claims, the Jones Act does not provide this immunity to cruise lines. If a cruise ship employee can prove even “slight” negligence, then the employee can seek additional fault-based compensation.
- Unseaworthiness Claims – In addition to claims for negligence, cruise ship employees can also pursue claims based on unseaworthiness. Numerous safety concerns can render a cruise ship “unseaworthy” under the Jones Act. There is no comparable provision for land-based workers under Florida’s workers’ compensation law.
Given these differences, if you have been injured while working onboard a cruise ship, it is extremely important that you hire an experienced Miami cruise ship accident attorney. An attorney who only handles cases under Florida’s workers’ compensation law will not be able to help you, and he or she will not be familiar with your legal rights.
How To File a Claim if You Were Injured Working Onboard a Cruise Ship
If you were injured working onboard a cruise ship, you should report your injury to your supervisor, and you should see the ship’s doctor promptly. You should also speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to guide you through your next steps, file your Jones Act claim for you and fight to make sure you receive the full compensation you deserve.
Talk to a Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorney for Free
Do you have a claim for financial compensation under the Jones Act? Contact us to find out. Call 800-499-0551 or get in touch online to speak with a Miami cruise ship accident attorney about your legal rights today.