At Morgan & Morgan, our Orlando admiralty and maritime lawyers understand that offshore workers often face dangerous work conditions, and the constant threat of injury presented as a result. Injuries sustained offshore or aboard a vessel can be severe, and place tremendous emotional and financial burdens on the injured party and their family. Our Orlando attorneys are dedicated to helping ease this burden by pursuing all possible avenues for compensation. We handle claims involving the following: violations of the Jones Act; violations of The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act; denial of rightful compensation; denial of benefits for injuries; maintenance and cure issues; and wrongful death.
If you or a loved one was injured while at sea or aboard a vessel, you may have legal recourse to collect compensation for your losses under Florida, federal, or international waters law. If you believe you may have a maritime injury claim, please fill out our free case evaluation form today. Our Orlando admiralty attorneys will review your claim at no cost and with no obligation to you.
An individual who suffers an injury while working offshore or aboard a vessel may be able to file a workers’ compensation or negligence claim:
Workers Compensation Claims: An injured individual can file a workers’ compensation claim under Florida or federal law to receive benefits, including medical treatment.
Negligence Claims: Alternatively, the aggrieved can file a claim against an employer, third party, or boating insurance company. To prevail, the plaintiff will have to prove a negligent act of another led to their injuries. In Florida, to prove negligence, the plaintiff must show that:
Evidence that may be helpful in proving negligence include: photographs of the injury or property damage; videos or photographs of the scene of the accident; eyewitness statements/testimony; and police reports. Contacting an experienced Orlando maritime and admiralty attorney can help an individual understand their rights under federal, Florida state, and international waters laws, and collect the documentation needed to file a successful claim.
Even if they are employed in a notoriously dangerous occupation, workers are entitled to a reasonably safe working environment. Before the Jones Act was enacted, sailors and seamen had limited avenues of recourse for injuries sustained at sea. In response to national concern about the health of sailors and crew members, the Jones Act expanded on existing protective clauses under maritime law. It now provides a cause of action in negligence for ‘any seaman’ injured ‘in the course of his employment,’ so long as the vessel was in navigation at the time of injury.
Under the Jones Act, seamen are entitled to immediate medical treatment as a result of the injury or disease
Under the Jones Act, seamen are entitled to immediate medical treatment as a result of the injury or disease, as well as maintenance and cure, regardless of fault. Relief and benefits under the Jones Act are available to any seaman who spends at least 30% of their time aboard a Merchant Marine vessel.
Workers are permitted to file a claim against a negligent employer or the vessel's owner alleging that the vessel was not seaworthy. Claims that may not be covered by the Jones Act can be brought against a third party who may have contributed to the injury or disease.
By law, claims filed under the Jones Act must be brought within a certain amount of time after the injury, and the injured party must prove that the other party was at fault for the injury. Damages for both past and future economic and non-economic losses may be recovered as a result of the vessel’s unseaworthiness.
Enlisting the help of an experienced Florida attorney who is well-versed in the Jones Act may be able to make the process of filing a claim less stressful, especially when the injury requires a substantial amount of the claimant’s time and attention. Collecting evidence, taking witness statements, and preparing a claim can be a difficult task, and having an Orlando attorney who is familiar with admiralty and maritime law can make a difference in the final outcome of the case.
The owner of a vessel has an absolute duty to provide a seaworthy vessel for use. A vessel is seaworthy if “it is reasonably fit for its intended use, is equipped with appropriate equipment and safety gear, has a competent crew, and is a safe place to live and work.” A seaworthy vessel can become unseaworthy should a dangerous situation develop offshore. The vessel's owners may be held liable for any injuries resulting from the ship's unseaworthiness.
Maintenance and Cure is legally available to any seaman injured on a vessel during the scope of their employment.
Maintenance requires the employer to provide a daily allowance covering living expenses incurred while the seaman is ashore and unable to work. Courts have stated that the allotment must be sufficient to cover the costs of basic necessities for survival including “rent, utilities, transportation cost, food, and more.” It is the duty of employers to provide this allowance until the worker is fit for duty or has reached maximum medical improvement. If an employer fails to provide an adequate allowance, the injured seaman may have legal recourse.
Cure requires the employer to provide payment for appropriate medical care such as: hospitalization, medication, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and all other reasonable and necessary medical needs until the seaman fully recovers. Employers who fail to provide medical treatment may be held liable if the injury or disease worsens.
Maintenance and Cure claims are often brought in conjunction with Jones Act claims.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal workers’ compensation program which provides employment-injury and occupational-disease protection to all qualified longshoremen and harbor workers. If a maritime worker is injured on the job, or if the injuries had a “traditional relationship to maritime employment,” they may be eligible for relief.
Determining your rights under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act can be a difficult process. Our experienced Florida maritime injury attorneys may be able to help by investigating the incident, collecting witness statements, and/or collecting any documents or relevant reports to help substantiate your claim.
Additionally, there are mandatory steps that an injured maritime worker must take in the beginning stages of filing a claim. Our attorneys can help streamline the process and help with any paperwork that needs to be completed.
If you are a maritime worker and have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To have an Orlando maritime attorney review your case, fill out our no cost, no obligation form today.