While cruise ship accidents often make headlines, this media coverage almost exclusively focuses on accidents involving passengers. Accidents involving passengers may be more common; but, many cruise ship crew members get injured on the job each year, and in many cases, these injuries have life-altering or life-threatening consequences. In this article, Miami crew member injury attorney Keith Brais explains what you need to know if you have been injured while working onboard a cruise ship.
Cruise Ship Crew Members Qualify as “Seamen” Under the Jones Act
Crew members who work onboard cruise ships in navigation qualify as “seamen” under the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal law that Congress enacted specifically to protect maritime workers who do not qualify for protection under state workers’ compensation laws. Since state workers’ compensation laws don’t apply offshore, these maritime workers (who the law refers to as “seamen”) cannot seek traditional medical and disability benefits like onshore workers. The Jones Act fills this void.
But, filing a claim under the Jones Act is not a direct substitute for filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Instead, cruise ship crew members who get injured on the job can file claims for one or more of the following:
- Maintenance and Cure Benefits – These are “no-fault” benefits that cover injured crew members’ injury-related medical bills and a portion of their lost income.
- Jones Act Negligence – If a cruise line operator is even “slightly” negligent in causing a crew member’s injury, then the crew member can file a claim for full compensation based on Jones Act negligence.
- Unseaworthiness – If a dangerous condition onboard a cruise ship leads to a crew member’s injury, the crew member can sue the ship’s owner for full compensation based on unseaworthiness.
In short, if you have been injured while working onboard a cruise ship at sea, at a minimum, you should have the right to obtain maintenance and cure benefits. But, if a Miami crew member injury attorney can prove that any issue with the cruise ship or the way in which the cruise ship was operated led to your injury, then you may be entitled to significant additional compensation.
Asserting Your Rights Under the Jones Act After an Accident on a Cruise Ship
Asserting your rights under the Jones Act starts with reporting your injury to your employer. You should do this promptly, but you should also be very careful when doing so. If you omit or misrepresent any important details, this could make it much more difficult to collect the compensation you deserve. We recommend speaking with a Miami crew member injury attorney as soon as possible so that you can learn everything you need to know to protect your legal rights.
Speak with a Miami Crew Member Injury Attorney for Free
Were you injured while working onboard a cruise ship? If so, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 800-499-0551 or contact us online to speak with a Miami crew member injury attorney today.