Crewmember Arbitration Attorney

Being a crewmember can be risky, and quite often, risks and safety hazards are a natural part of the job, with some 35.9% of crewmembers surveyed in research published by the National Library of Medicine experiencing a shipwreck or severe accident. Still, just because there is a greater risk of being injured as a crewmember or seafarer compared to other occupations, that does not mean that if you are injured, you’ll have to cover your own costs. When your injuries are caused by the negligence of another party, you will likely be entitled to some form of compensation. How you collect compensation can be complicated, as multiple statutes and federal maritime law may apply, like the Jones Act, or your options may be controlled by the contract or agreement you entered into prior to beginning work. For example, instead of filing a lawsuit, if you are unable to achieve a satisfactory settlement, some contracts require that you go to arbitration, which is an out-of-court negotiation with your employer’s lawyers and/or their insurance company. Having to argue for your right to collect compensation for your injuries can be especially difficult after the accident or incident that caused them. To support your rights and help to maximize the amount of compensation that you recover, consult with a crewmember arbitration attorney at Brais Law Firm. 

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that offers a way for parties to resolve disputes outside of the traditional court system. With arbitration, the dispute will be heard by one or more individuals (known as arbitrators) who are impartial adjudicators. At an arbitration, both parties present their case before the arbitrator (instead of a judge or jury) who will render a decision on the case. Depending on the parties’ agreement which often may be included in a dispute resolution section of a written contract, the arbitrator’s decision may be non-binding (meaning not enforceable if a party does not want it to be), or legally binding and enforceable in court (which means the decision may be able to be converted to a judgment in court and damages may be collected upon). The rules of evidence that must be followed during an arbitration often differ from those that must be followed in a traditional court.  

How is Arbitration Used in the Cruise Ship Industry?

Many cruise liners include arbitration clauses in both their passenger ticket contracts as well as their cruise ship employment agreements. Arbitration clauses are often found in a dispute resolution section of a contract. If both parties agree in writing to the dispute resolution provision in advance of a dispute, often courts will hold the provision enforceable. 

Accordingly, if you are a cruise ship worker or crew member and you are injured aboard a vessel, you may be required to file your injury claim through the arbitration process (instead of with the court) if your employment agreement includes a mandatory and binding arbitration provision.

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Where Will My Arbitration Take Place?

Often a crew member employment agreement will include a venue clause that is included with or near a dispute resolution provision. This provision often states where a dispute may take place and pursuant to what state’s law or set of rules. With arbitrations, many contracts will state that arbitrations will be held before the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and pursuant to the rules of the AAA (or other similar arbitration associations). 

The AAA has several locations throughout the United States. Often the venue provision of the agreement may state the specific AAA location where the arbitration will take place, or it may say that disputes will be heard at the AAA location nearest to a specific city or county in a specific state as named in the contract. Depending on which cruise liner you use, some arbitration provisions could require parties to arbitrate in a foreign country which could create significant obstacles for a crew member injured while working aboard a vessel to pursue compensation for damages sustained while on the clock. Accordingly, if you are a crew member injured while on the job, you are encouraged to speak to an experienced crew member arbitration attorney. The experienced maritime and crew member arbitration lawyers at Brais Law Firm can assist you with your crew member injury case. 

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Arbitration Clauses Can Take Your Claim Out of the Court System and Even U.S. Law

The purpose of inserting an “arbitration” clause into your contract and/or employment agreement with your employer is to tip the bargaining scale in their favor. Generally, an injury that results from the liability of your employer will result in their insurance company is responsible for compensating you for your injuries. The option of taking the insurance company to court and allowing a jury of your peers to determine what you are entitled to can lead to the potential of significant outcomes in terms of your payment. 

Arbitration clauses require that any claims concerning injuries be settled through a process outside of the civil court system. You will not be able to sue your employer in court to argue your claims. Instead of the amount that you are paid is decided upon by a jury, it will instead be decided by an “arbitrator” who acts as a judge. While juries are known to reward favorable outcomes to people who are injured on the job, the arbitrator may generally be more stringent in their standards and award lesser amounts. 

The Outcome of Arbitration Hearings is Legally Binding

While it is possible to deal with your arbitration hearing for your injury on your own, it is not advised. The insurance company will have an attorney with a substantial level of experience in trying to convince judges to award as little as possible to the injured party such as yourself. Insurers carefully scrutinize your injuries, the circumstances that caused them, and your evidence. The insurance company profits by paying you less or denying your claim and paying you nothing at all. 

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The Strength of Your Evidence and the Effectiveness of Your Argument Will Determine Your Compensation in Arbitration

Given the binding nature of arbitration hearings, it is essential that you present the strongest possible case in your favor. This requires the collection of evidence, both in terms of the negligence of your employer to prove liability and the cost of the damages that are linked to your injuries. Any aspect of your injury, whether in the short- or long-term, that is lacking evidence will not be included in whatever amount the arbitrator might award you at the end of the process. In the case of arbitration, a legal professional who is intimately familiar with the rules of evidence and what would be legally binding will be making the decision. Juries oftentimes will root their decision in their understanding of justice and in the strength of the evidence as presented.  

An arbitrator, however, may opt not to consider some information that could be especially helpful to your case if it is not presented in the correct way. While you are not expected to study the law, become a lawyer, and then work for many years in maritime law to achieve a fair settlement in the arbitration process, we do encourage you to consider working with one of our skilled crewmember arbitration attorneys. When you make the decision to work with a member of our team, you’ll have the support needed during evidence collection and the entire arbitration process. We understand how stressful it can be to have to argue for your right to compensation for the injuries you experienced as a crewmember, and we stand ready to assist you in this regard. 

A Crewmember Maritime Arbitration Attorney Helps Prove Liability

One of the most important tasks that your crewmember maritime arbitration attorney handles on your behalf is the gathering of evidence to determine the cause of the accident or incident that led to your injuries. This is made possible through the use of legal instruments like requests for production, interrogatories, and depositions. Your attorney will put these legal instruments to work to collect information from your employer to determine exactly what caused your injuries. When it can be proven that the cause of your injuries was due to the negligence of your employer, we will work to ensure they are held legally responsible for your injuries. Proving liability is only the first step, as you’ll then need to produce evidence to prove the damages that you are seeking. 

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We Help You Measure Medical and Occupational Costs, Plus Other Damages

If the only bill that you bring with you to arbitration is your emergency room bill, this could be the only medical expense that you are able to collect. When it comes to crewmember injuries, they can often be serious and impact you in the long term. Injuries that are life-altering and long-term can lead to substantial and ongoing medical costs. Full coverage for your injuries depends upon the strength of your case, and Brais Law Firm can assemble a strong case and turn that into success at arbitration. 

Settlements that fail to account for the long-term implications of your injuries can lead to you and your family having to cover these costs out of the household budget. Injuries that impact your ability to earn as much as before your injury, or disable you such that you are unable to earn at all, can forever impact your family. However, with effective evidence, you may be able to recover for the loss of earnings that were a result of your injury. 

Why Should I Choose Brais Law Firm?

The decision to hire a lawyer can be the difference between having the finances to cover all the medical costs and lost compensation from your injury or having to make up the difference out of your own pocket. According to the American Bar Association, the most important thing to take into consideration when hiring an attorney is their experience. The talented and winning crewmember maritime arbitration lawyers at Brais Law Firm have decades of combined experience. Founding partner Keith Brais has been board certified in maritime law since 1996 and has been working in the field for decades, supporting the best interests of crewmembers and other seamen. When you are considering which lawyer to hire, the choice can seem overwhelming, as a cursory Google search will produce dozens of attorneys claiming to have the ability to help you with your case. Few of those attorneys have the breadth and depth of knowledge of the maritime lawyers at Brais Law Firm, and few of them have as strong a track record of winning sizable settlements for our clients. Brais Law Firm has produced the following results for our clients:

  • $167,500 crewmember personal injury
  • $6.8 million crewmember lifetime client payout 
  • $1.34 million tugboat and barge crewmember wrongful death 
  • $500,000 crewmember personal injury 
  • $1.29 million crewmember personal injury

We treat each unique client and case with the personalized attention it deserves, working with you to gather evidence in support of the strongest and highest claim and payment on your behalf. 

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Explore Options During a Free Consultation With Our Crewmember Maritime Arbitration Attorney

The process of arbitration can be intimidating, especially considering that the employer responsible for your injuries will generally be negotiating through an experienced commercial attorney. Attorneys who regularly represent businesses and their insurance companies in claims from injured employees will do whatever they can to discredit your evidence in the hopes of denying your claim or paying as little as possible in a settlement./contact-us/

Your initial case consultation is risk-free and cost-free. We’ll gather some basic information about your injuries and your employer and determine if we are able to help you with your case. If we can, we’ll discuss options on how to get started with our attorney-client relationship. 

To learn how we can help, connect with Brais Law Firm by calling 800-499-0551, or visit our website to book your initial free consultation. 

Who Will be Handling my Case?

Your case will be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to get the results you deserve. The practitioners at our firm have over 70 years of collective trial experience. Our credentials and qualifications are extensive, including an “AV” Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. More importantly, we have a first-hand understanding of how insurance carriers operate because we represented clients insured with major insurance companies for nearly 20 years before we made a choice to change sides so that we could help the people who need us most – individuals just like you. Learn more.

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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

I highly recommend Brais Law Firm

"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.

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

I recommend Keith Brais

"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.

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

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