Two bodies of law govern offshore injuries: general maritime law and the Jones Act.
Cruise ship injuries and passengers
Despite the shiny, sunny advertisements, cruise ships are not all fun and games. Injuries, accidents, and even crimes plague cruise ships. After all, many cruise ships are the size of small cities, and have the same problems.
Frequent injuries to passengers include:
- Slips and falls on soapy decks or floors
- Food poisoning
- Falling object injuries
- Being thrown by rough seas
Occasionally, passengers even become victims of crime, anything from petty theft to assault.
In these cases, general maritime law applies. Under the law, shipowners have a duty of reasonable care to their passengers. Shipowners cannot create dangerous conditions, or negligently allow dangerous conditions to exist without taking steps to remediate them.
A maritime injury attorney will help you determine whether your injury resulted from shipowner negligence, and where and when to file your claim. General maritime law allows a three-year statute of limitations. Many cruise tickets establish shorter periods, and even limitations on where you can file suit. Maritime injury attorneys can help you parse those rules and recover for your injuries.
The Jones Act governs almost all offshore injuries to crewmembers. Whether you work on a cruise ship, a restaurant boat, a cargo ship, a fishing boat, a barge, or almost any other type of vessel, Jones Act law governs your employer's responsibilities and obligations in the case of an injury.
If injured as a seaman, the Jones Act obligates your employer to pay transportation and wages until you return to shore, and then to pay maintenance and cure. Maintenance costs should match the reasonable costs of board and lodging while you pursue medical care necessary to get you back to work. Cure payments should cover the cost of all medical care until you are well enough to return to work or until you reach your maximum medical improvement.
Maritime attorneys can help ensure that your employer does not balk at paying your medical costs or the costs of board and lodging. They will also help determine whether negligence or unseaworthiness contributed to your injury, creating grounds for additional compensation.
Work with savvy maritime injury attorneys
If you are hurt as a passenger on a cruise or fishing charter, or in the course of your duties as a seaman or maritime crewmember, work with the Gaar Law Firm to secure the greatest possible compensation for your injuries. We have over 40 years combined experience and have successfully represented hundreds of maritime injury victims. Contact us today to set up a free consultation and meet with one of our dedicated attorneys.