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Board Certified
Maritime Lawyer

Boating - Jet Ski - Parasailing - Scuba Diving - Snorkeling - Prop Strike - Jones Act Seaman - Yacht Crew Claims

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Miami Maritime Injury Lawyer Assisting Victims of Marine Accidents & Casualties in Florida & Nationwide

The maritime and admiralty law firm of Brais Law Firm bring to bear on your behalf two board certified maritime attorneys with more than 28 years combined trial experience. The lawyers with the law firm have vast experience with maritime claims involving personal injury or death on navigable waters, yacht & boat owner marine insurance disputes and unsafe marine products. The attorneys at the law firm of Brais Law Firm with offices in Miami, Florida and Boston, Massachusetts are here to help.

Admiralty and maritime law is a highly specialized area of the law so much so, that the Florida Bar established a board certification in this field. In 1996, Keith Brais qualified for and passed the first ever Florida Bar certification examination in the field of admiralty and maritime Law. In each of the five year intervals following, Keith Brais again qualified and renewed his board certification which currently remains valid through April 31st, 2012. As such, Keith Brais has been a board certified admiralty and maritime attorney in this highly specialized area of law for 15 years.

You may well have been completely unaware that maritime law governs your claim. If, however, you or a loved one suffered an accident or injury while traveling or working as any one of the following then you should contact a lawyer who specializes the field of maritime and admiralty law:

  • Cruise Ship Passenger
  • Yacht Guest
  • Ferry Passenger
  • Airplane Passenger
  • Commercial fisherman
  • Long Liner
  • Shrimper
  • Crew Member
  • Jones Act Seaman
  • Merchant Marine
  • Brown Water Seaman
  • Ship Worker or Repairman
  • Offshore Oil Rig Worker
  • Longshoreman Dock Worker
  • Harbor Worker

 

Marine Companies We Sue

Antillean Marine Shipping Corp. Beyel Brothers, Inc. Beyel Brothers Crane Services, Inc. Continental Casualty Co.
Crowley Maritime Corp. FLC Marine, LLC Jungle Queen Maersk Lines Limited
Portcity Steamship Services, Inc. Southpoint Divers Starboard Cruise Services Steiner Transocean
Tropical Shipping U.S. Navy – Military Sealift Command    

Generally speaking maritime law also governs all accidents occurring on inland, coastal and ocean navigable waterways, including injuries aboard sea-going vessels, cruise ships, yachts, ferries, tugs, barges, oil rigs, riverboats, pilot boats and fishing boats.

Navigable waters means waterways that have direct or indirect access to the ocean versus a land locked lake. In certain instances even an airboat accident in the everglades may be controlled by maritime law. “Admiralty and maritime Law” is principally made up of Federal Statues, International Treaties and federal common law, otherwise known as “general maritime law”. In certain instances, courts deciding a case based upon maritime law may even “borrow” state law to the extent it is not inconsistent with well-established principles of maritime law. A maritime practitioner will one day be in state court arguing a federal statute and the next be in federal court citing to an international maritime treaty.

Hiring a law firm that specializes in the field of law governing your claim will give you a significant advantage and, more likely than not, a better outcome over hiring a “general practice firm.” Brais Law Firm was formed based upon the principle that clients in need of legal maritime expertise are best protected and served by attorneys who specialize in and have dedicated their professional lives to maritime law. We are not the answer to all clients’ problems. On the other hand, if your claim concerns admiralty and maritime law in the States of Florida, Massachusetts or Texas then the law firm of Brais Law Firm is here to help. Your selecting the board certified maritime lawyers at Brais Law Firm to represent your interests may well be the most important factor influencing a favorable financial resolution to your maritime claim.

The attorneys at the law firm of Brais Law Firm have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs, and the skill to obtain the compensation you deserve. To reach our lawyers you may click email the firm, call 800-499-0551 from within the U.S., Skype BraisLaw worldwide or click Contact Us to select and complete a form for a free evaluation of your case.

Who Qualifies as a Maritime Worker?

To file a maritime accident claim, you need to qualify as a maritime worker. So, do you qualify?

A maritime worker is anyone who works in an occupation connected to the sea. Cargo ship crewmembers and fishermen are maritime workers, and so are charter captains, longshoremen, and harbor workers. If your job has anything to do with the water, this means that you are a maritime worker.

Why Does It Matter if You Are a Maritime Worker?

Let’s say you are a maritime worker. Why is this important? It is important because it affects your legal rights when you get injured on the job. While land-based workers in non-maritime occupations can file workers’ compensation claims under state law when they suffer job-related injuries, these laws do not apply in the maritime setting.

Instead, maritime workers’ rights exist under federal law. Specifically, there are three federal laws under which a Miami maritime lawyer can help their clients seek just compensation in most cases:

  • Merchant Marine Act (Jones Act) – The Merchant Marine Act, more commonly known as the Jones Act, protects maritime workers who qualify as “seamen.” If you are a seaman, you can file for maintenance and cure benefits after any job-related accident, and you may be able to file additional claims as well.
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) – The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) protects maritime workers who suffer injuries on navigable waters, docks, piers, terminals, and other adjacent areas. It provides benefits similar to those available under most state workers’ compensation laws.
  • Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) – The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) protects maritime workers who spend their days on fixed rigs and platforms at sea. The OCLSA extends the benefits afforded by the LHWCA to maritime workers who would not otherwise qualify.

A fourth federal law, the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), provides important legal rights to family members who have lost maritime workers at sea. The Jones Act provides wrongful death compensation as well; and, if you have lost a loved one, a Miami maritime accident lawyer can help you understand which type of claim you should file.

When Can You File a Claim for a Maritime Accident?

So, you are an injured maritime worker, or you have lost a loved one in a tragic accident at sea. Are you entitled to file a claim?  

There is a good chance that the answer to this question is, “Yes.” With the exception of DOHSA, a key aspect of all of the laws discussed above is that they provide compensation on a “no-fault” basis. This means that maritime workers and their families do not need any evidence of the fault in order to receive benefits. While proving fault allows for the recovery of additional compensation under the Jones Act (and allows families to file claims under DOHSA), even “no-fault” claims can provide injured workers and families with much-needed financial stability.  

All types of accidents can justify maritime injury and wrongful death claims. For example, our Miami maritime injury lawyer handles cases involving:

  • Accidents involving coworker negligence
  • Accidents involving equipment malfunctions and machinery failures
  • Accidents involving lines, nets, winches, windlasses and capstans
  • Capsizing or running aground
  • Collisions with other vessels or stationary objects
  • Drowning and near-drowning accidents
  • Exposure to harmful fumes, chemicals, bacteria or viruses
  • Fires and explosions
  • Hazardous weather and sea conditions
  • Hazardous working conditions (i.e. welding without proper ventilation)
  • Inadequate safety equipment or safety precautions onboard
  • Slips, trips, and falls

We Represent Maritime Workers and Families Nationwide

From our firm’s principal office in Miami, we represent maritime workers and families nationwide. Whether you are a permanent resident of Miami, you moved to Florida to take a job in the maritime industry, you live in Florida and have lost a loved one in another state, or you are simply looking for a highly-experienced maritime accident lawyer to assist you, we can help. Our experience includes recovering just compensation for clients located in:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Washington

FAQs: Filing a Claim for Compensation After a Maritime Accident

Is It Common for Maritime Workers to File Injury Claims?

Yes, maritime accidents are a regular occurrence, and injured maritime workers file claims all the time. But, the unfortunate reality is that far too many maritime accidents still go unreported. By hiring a Miami maritime lawyer to file a claim on your behalf, not only can you receive compensation for your injury, but you can also help raise awareness of the risks workers in your position face on a daily basis.

Can I Lose My Job if I File a Claim for a Maritime Accident?

Your employer cannot fire you because you filed a claim for your maritime accident. You have the legal right to file a claim (if you qualify), and you cannot lose your job for asserting your rights. But, if you are no longer able to do your job because of your injury, then this could justify your employer terminating your employment. If you are concerned about losing your job, we strongly recommend that you speak with a Miami maritime accident lawyer before making any decisions.

Is It True that I Can Only Recover Maintenance and Cure Benefits?

Some employers will tell their employees that they only qualify for maintenance and cure benefits. While this is true in some cases, many injured maritime workers are entitled to additional compensation. If your employer is telling you this, it is looking out for its own financial interests, not yours. It doesn’t want to be held accountable for causing your injury. Rather than trusting your employer, you should seek advice from an experienced attorney.

What if My Employer Denies My Maritime Accident Claim?

Employers routinely deny their employees’ maritime accident claims—including claims for “no-fault” maintenance and cure benefits. If you have been denied benefits under the Jones Act, LHWCA or OCSLA, you should not accept your employer’s (or its insurance company’s) decision. Instead, you should discuss your legal rights with an experienced Miami maritime injury attorney. 

 

WE FOUGHT ON THEIR BEHALF, HEAR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY:

Cruise Ship Crew Member Injury

I was in pain for a good 6 months, it was just a nightmare…It wasn’t until I got Mr. Brais that I really started getting the help I needed from the doctors. You need somebody you can trust, somebody to give you some guidance. They stuck in there with me the whole way.

Client

Tug & Barge Crew Member Death

I just thought he [Mr. Brais] was the man to do it. I felt comfortable with him being by my side. The pain my family has suffered has been immeasurable, but he was there with me. It’s not just him, it’s his team also. Keith really stood up for my son. I know I made the best choice.

Client

Resort Guest Injury

As we worked with Keith, I realized what would have happened had we just selected an attorney in town…I realized that the outcome would have been probably entirely different, and not as successful as it was. I felt very comfortable going through with the whole process. I would say Keith is a superhero.

Client

Hire an Attorney Who Specializes in Maritime Law

There are all types of attorneys who practice law, but not all attorneys are best suited to handle your maritime injury or cruise ship accident case.

Certain cases require attorneys with particular expertise. If your claim involves navigable waters and a vessel of whatever type (e.g., cruise ship, tanker, cargo, ferry, tug and barge, yacht, pleasure boat, dive boat, jet ski, wave runner, etc.) or employment in the marine industry (e.g. crew member, Jones Act seaman, longshoreman, cruise ship employee, etc.), then your claim is governed by maritime law.

Maritime law is a unique end esoteric body of law. It is very different from auto cases or other “shore-side” types of claims and requires the expertise of a skilled and experienced maritime practitioner.


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Board Certified Experts in Maritime Law

Board Certified for Admiralty & Maritime Law by The Florida Bar

Keith Brais was the first of a limited number of attorneys to become board certified in maritime law by the Florida Bar in 1996

The Miami-based maritime injury lawyers and cruise ship accident attorneys with Brais Law Firm are experts in the field of maritime law.

Only seven percent of Florida attorneys can represent that they are experts in a particular field of law under Florida Bar rules. Only after practicing a requisite number of years, providing proof of substantial relevant legal accomplishment and passing a board certification exam may an attorney ethically represent themselves as an “expert” in a certain practice area.

Keith Brais was the first of a limited number of attorneys to become board certified in maritime law by the Florida Bar in 1996.

Even today, there are very few board certified maritime attorneys and even fewer who represent plaintiffs. The firm’s maritime injury attorneys and cruise ship accident lawyers work exclusively on behalf of injured individuals or loved ones left behind after wrongful death and are here to help and lend their expertise in support if your claim.

MEET THE TEAM

Keith S. Brais - Maritime Attorney

Keith S. Brais

Having graduated with a B.S. degree in Marine Engineering from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, acquired three U.S. Coast Guard licenses and worked on offshore oil drilling platforms for more than seven years, Keith Brais brings an uncommon degree of real world experience to his clients’ personal injury and wrongful death claims.

Eliot T. Brais - Maritime attorney

Eliot T. Brais

Eliot T. Brais is the sole and managing shareholder in his North Attleboro, Massachusetts office. He began his law career in 1988, joining his father, Ronald A. Brais, who had enjoyed a 40 year practice primarily concentrating on estate planning and small business law.

Michelle Y. Gurian - Maritime attorney

Michelle Y. Gurian

Michelle has concentrated in the area of plaintiffs’ civil trial practice since the beginning of her legal career. Her experience includes land-based and admiralty/maritime personal injury, wrongful death, and class action litigation.

MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CLIENT RECOVERIES*

The attorneys with the Brais Law Firm are leaders in the field of maritime injury law leaders in the field of maritime injury law with decades of reported cases, establishing new and favorable law, and a proven record of obtaining million and multi-million dollar recoveries (settlements and verdicts).

In fact, since deciding to represent only individuals, the firm’s recoveries exceed 60 million dollars in the last several years alone*. Every maritime and personal injury case is different. Results will vary depending upon the facts of your case, governing law and injuries suffered. These important issues aside, your choice of a law firm experienced in the highly specialized field of maritime law will likely have the single greatest impact on the financial outcome of your claim.

$19.9 Million

Resort Guest Lifetime
Client Payout

$9.8 Million

Resort Guest Wrongful Death

$6.8 Million

Crew Member Lifetime Client Payout

$6.6 Million

PWC / WaveRunner Personal Injury

$2.9 Million

Crew Member Personal Injury

$2.2 Million

Cruise Passenger Sexual Assault

$1.34 Million

Tug & Barge Crew Member Wrongful Death

$1.3 Million

Unsafe & Defective
Products Liability

$1.29 Million

Crew Member Personal Injury

$1.18 Million

Jet Skier Jury Verdict

$1.1 Million

Recreational Diver
Run Over -Prop Strike

$750,000

Resort Guest Personal Injury

Practice Areas

WHY CLIENTS HIRE US

Over 70 Years & 100 Trials of Collective Experience

Over 70 Years & 100 Trials of Collective Experience

The attorneys within and “of counsel” to our firm have more than 70 years and 100 trials of collective experience trying cases before judges and juries.

Board Certified Expert in Maritime & Admiralty Law

Board Certified Expert in Maritime & Admiralty Law

Keith Brais is among a select number of attorneys who have achieved board certification in maritime law by the Florida Bar.

Protecting Rights and Restoring Lives

“Protecting Rights and Restoring Lives”

Our mission statement is “Protecting Rights and Restoring Lives.” These are not merely words. We have the experience to protect your rights, the compassion to serve your needs and the skill to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Award Winning Legal Team

Award Winning Legal Team

The members of our legal team have received numerous awards and accolades throughout the course ion their careers, including being “AV Preeminent rated with Martindale Hubbell and named as members of both Super Lawyers and Legal Elite.

Real World Experience in the Maritime Industry

Real World Experience in the Maritime Industry

Keith Brais graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a B.S. degree in marine engineering. Over his seven plus years working aboard ships and offshore oil rigs, he acquired three U.S. Coast Guard Licenses.
(now inactive).

First-Hand Knowledge of Opposition

First-Hand Knowledge of Opposition

The attorneys at our firm represented maritime employers, cruise lines, insurance companies and other major players in the maritime industry for nearly 20 years. These “blue chip” marine employers and insurers can and do hire only the best available attorneys. The attorneys with Brais Law Firm now put their expertise and experience to fight for the rights of the individuals who have suffered serious personal injury or wrongful death of a loved one.

Exclusively Representing Injured Individuals

Exclusively Representing Injured Individuals

At Brais Law Firm we focus our efforts on helping individuals, not insurance companies, cruise lines, corporations or marine employers. Our firm is here to help you and your family.

Track Record of Success

Track Record of Success

Every maritime injury and cruise ship accident lawyer at our firm is focused on getting individuals the compensation they deserve. In the last several years alone, we have proudly secure more than 60 million dollars for our clients.

Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Partner Keith Brans is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members of this prestigious group of trial lawyers.

I highly recommend Brais Law Firm. Their professionalism and expertise were top notch. My slip and fall injury case involved a well known cruise ship and was nerve racking to me. They calmed all my fears and walked me through step by step. In the end they helped me obtain a favorable recovery. Look no further, call them with your Maritime case!!!

P.C.

I was in an accident where I was struck by a boat and boat propeller. The Brais Law Firm represented me in a very professional manner. I am very satisfied with the service and support I received from the firm and happy with the results they achieved. I recommend Keith Brais and his firm to anyone needing representation related to a maritime personal injury.

M.C.