What Kinds of Crew Member Claims are There?
Crew members can come in a wide variety of categories. They can be working on board cruise ships. They can be working upon blue water vessels. They can be working on a tug-and-barge. They can be working on a ferry boat. Every single one of those crew members who have a reasonably permanent connection to a particular vessel and who perform a function on the ship is generally going to be categorized as a Jones Act Seaman. Jones Act Seaman is a federal statute, but the three major claims that a Jones Act Seaman can bring are the Jones Act federal statutory claim, which is a statutory negligence claim. They can bring what's called an unseaworthiness claim. Unseaworthiness basically means that the crew, or the vessel, or its equipment was not reasonably fit for its intended purpose.
The last claim is what's referred to as maintenance and cure. There are no workers' compensation benefits for the Jones Act seamen. What they get is what's called maintenance and cure. Maintenance is they give a stipend, which is a per diem living allowance, or else they starve to death. They also get cure, which is payment of their medical expenses. Any medical expenses related, in fact even unrelated to the original incident, up until the time their diagnosis maximum medical cure.
Those are the three major claims we're called upon very, very often to help those crew members, probably represents just under 50% of the firm's work.