We have recovered millions of dollars for merchant seamen and families who lost loved ones employed on cargo ships. The experienced Jones Act lawyers at our firm understand maritime law and have effectively used maritime laws for more than 50 years to uphold the rights of cargo ship workers from the East Coast, West Coast to representing maritime employees working on a cargo ship that travel to international ports.
A cargo ship is any vessel that transports goods across the water. The most common type is the container ship, which transports large, usually brightly colored shipping containers that can be filled with anything from clothes, toys, furniture, to the latest technology out of Japan. Almost everything that gets shipped overseas comes through one of these metal containers. Cargo ships also include tankers, which are specially designed and outfitted to carry liquids as well as dry-goods, such as large quantities of loose goods like coal and lumber. Working on a cargo ship is important, and workers should not have to risk serious injury at the hands of negligent employers and shipping companies for unseaworthy cargo vessels.
What Maritime Laws Cover an Employee Hurt While Working on a Cargo Ship?
Every worker aboard a cargo ship, from the captain to an able-bodied seaman, is protected by maritime laws. Working aboard a vessel at sea is a unique job, so special laws do apply.
One of the most important maritime laws is the Jones Act, which gives a merchant seaman hurt working on a cargo ship or other vessel and families who have lost their loved ones working on cargo ships or vessels the right to bring Jones Act claims to recover compensation if able to prove employer negligence played any role in causing injury.
Under general maritime law, an injured worker on a cargo ship or other vessel and the family who lost a loved one who worked on a cargo ship or vessel has the right to bring a claim against the owner of the vessel for an unseaworthy vessel. Unseaworthiness is where a vessel whose ship, hull, equipment and crew are not reasonably fit for their intended purpose in the operations of the ship. A classic example of unseaworthiness is the line or wire that snaps and injures a merchant seaman.
Can Cargo Ship Workers Get Maintenance and Cure After Accidents?
Maintenance and cure under general maritime law also applies in cases of cargo ship worker accidents. These laws hold that the injured merchant seaman’s employer must pay workers a daily stipend, maintenance, based on their reasonable daily expenses and the employer must also pay medical expenses, cure for the seamen until they reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Maximum medical improvement is where there is no further medical treatment that will improve the seaman’s medical condition.
Prescriptions, medical equipment and even mileage to appointments are covered and should be reimbursed to the merchant seaman under cure. And unlike the Jones Act and unseaworthiness, maintenance and cure applies to any seaman injured during the course of his/her employment, regardless of who is fault for the injury.
What is Limitation of Liability Clause in Maritime Law?
One of the biggest challenges facing injured cargo ship workers or families of deceased cargo workers is the Limitation of Liability Act, which allows vessel owners to limit the compensation available to the value of the ship at the time of the accident. This can severely diminish the ability of merchant seamen injured working on a cargo ship to recover fair damages for future medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering from the owner of the vessel or for families to recover for the loss of their loved ones.
If a maritime accident involves a cargo ship sinking and the owner of the vessel files a Petition for Limitation of Liability, the value of a potential claim for victims and families for compensation could be reduced to nothing even if the owner of the vessel has insurance coverage. However, a Petition for Limitation of Liability can successfully be contested by an experienced maritime lawyer who understands the complicated procedures involved, the defense needed to defeat a Petition and to argue for its dismissal.
Our attorneys have repeatedly handled these claims with success, which has allowed hundreds of injured seamen or families of deceased seamen to recover the full compensation they deserve.
Nationwide Merchant Seamen Working Aboard Cargo Ships Trust Our Jones Act Lawyers
Maritime law can be confusing, but qualified maritime lawyers can use those laws to help injured cargo ship workers when they need it most. Many merchant seamen are unaware that they may be entitled to compensation beyond medical bills under certain admiralty laws. Future medical expenses, physical disfigurement, past and future pain and suffering, past lost wages and impairment to earning capacity are all areas where a knowledgeable maritime lawyer may be able to obtain additional injury compensation for cargo ship workers hurt on the job.
Our lawyers at Latti & Anderson LLP have more than 50 years of experience helping merchant seamen located or hurt nationwide and can help you learn about your rights after a cargo ship accident. Get the compensation you deserve. Cargo ship workers should contact our Jones Act attorneys in Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts, or through our confidential online review form today for a free case evaluation.