We Represent Injured maritime employees who work aboard Ships Oil Rigs Dredges Towboats and Barges. Every Seafarer or inland river maritime worker who resides in our community the Treasure Coast whether in St Lucie County Martin Indian River Okeechobee or even Brevard County is our potential client. Your job is dangerous because you work on the sea or inland rivers aboard a steel vessel. We only have to remember the recent tradgedy of the El Faro cargo ship to know how dangerous maritime work actually is. A Jones Act Seaman is your legal status when injured aboard ship and it provides you with multiple rights and benefits. We aggresively protect those rights and benefits for the Jones Act Seaman.
If you receive an injury aboard a vessel your best choice for medical care is where your home is located. This is not a workers' compensation injury where you are forced to accept care from company insurance doctors. Your's' is a Jones Act maritime law injury and you can choose your own doctor and medical facility for care. The choice of doctor belongs to the Jones Act seaman. It is your right under the law to receive medical care and recuperate at home. When your doctor declares that you have reached maximum medical improvement your daily living expense payments (maintenance) ends. There are many medical centers here on the east coast of Florida. In our case the Treasure Coast. We can help you get started and we are committed to you receiving the finest medical care available and adequate maintenance from your employer while you recuperate. Your Jones Act seaman status entitles you to it. We take your case very seriously and the honor of representing you. Call us.
A vessel owner is required by law to provide maintenance and cure for seamen aboard their vessel who are injured or fall ill. Lewis v. Lewis & Clark Marine Inc., 531 U.S. 438, 441 (2001). This requirement is fulfilled by providing food, lodging, and medical services until the seaman reaches maximum recovery, as determined by a physician, from the injury or ailment incurred while the seaman was in service of the vessel. Lewis, 531 U.S. at 441; see also Vella v. Ford Motor Co., 421 U.S. 1, 4 (1975).
The doctrine of seaworthiness is a feature of the General Maritime Law. The warranty of seaworthiness imposed by operation of law on a vessel owner or operator is an absolute and non-delegable duty to seamen to provide a vessel that is reasonably fit for its intended purposes or for its intended voyage. The mere happening of an accident is not evidence of unseaworthiness, but when a breach of the warranty causes injury or death, the vessel and its owner can be found liable. The duty to provide a vessel that is reasonably safe extends to all parts of the vessel and to almost all facets of its operation. The fact that the unseaworthy condition occurred after the vessel left port is immaterial. It is no excuse that the vessel owner had no notice or opportunity to correct the condition that caused the injury.
The Jones Act is a federal statute enacted in 1920 which established a negligence remedy in state or federal court against a seaman's employer for the injury or death of a seaman. The Jones Act specifically incorporates the rights and remedies extended to railroad workers by the Federal Employees Liability Act ("FELA"). Thus the Jones Act and the FELA are two of the very few circumstances in which an employee can sue his employer for the negligence of the employer or the employee's co-workers.
In a Jones Act claim the seaman must show that the employer was negligent and that the negligence was a cause of the injury to the seaman. Further, it must be shown that the ship owner knew or in the exercise of due care, should have known, of the dangerous condition aboard the vessel.
A seaman may sue the seaman's employer under the Jones Act in either Federal Court or in State Court. If the case is originally brought in the State Court, the defendant may not remove the case to the Federal Court. However, even if the case is brought in the State Court, the Federal Maritime Law applies to the State claim. A claim for unseaworthiness may also be brought in the same case as the plaintiff's Jones Act suit. If a Jones Act suit is brought in the State Court, the seaman has the right to elect whether he or she wants a jury or judge alone trial. The defendant shipowner has no right to ask for a jury trial if the seaman decides that he wishes to have his case tried by a Judge alone. If the seaman were to bring only an unseaworthiness claim in the Federal Court, this would be an admiralty action and there would be no right to a jury trial. However, if the seaman couples his unseaworthiness claim with a Jones Act negligence claim in the Federal Court, then he may ask for a jury trial as to both claims. Again, as in the State cases, the seaman's right to elect a jury trial or a Judge trial belongs to the seaman not the employer.
Punitive damages may be available in seaworthiness cases and maintenance and cure cases. We know what to look for and how to go about prosecuting this type of claim if the facts support it.How can you help me if I live in a state other than Florida?
We have clients who's cases were resolved in Federal Court as far away as Memphis, Tennessee. If we can't help you we will find someone who can.
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Heart of the Treasure Coast
Fort Pierce, St Lucie Florida