Miami Attorney for Injured Cruise Ship Worker

While most employees experience hazards in the workplace, those who work on cruise ships are often subject to different working conditions. Food-borne illness, falling overboard, and slick walkways and decks are among the dangers cruise ship workers face regularly. To best protect your financial interests when you've been hurt while working on a cruise ship, you should reach out to a Miami maritime lawyer at Wolfson & Leon. With our free and confidential consultation, you can ask questions and determine what legal protections may be available. You can learn more when you call Wolfson & Leon today at (305) 285-1115.

Conditions differ when you get hurt while working on a cruise ship. The onboard medical personnel may not be experienced enough or have the right equipment to give you the medical care you need if you are badly hurt. Even the laws governing workplace injuries are different than if you were injured on land.

What Should I Do if I Get Hurt Working on a Cruise Ship?

You must move quickly to protect your financial interests if you get hurt while working on a cruise ship. These steps include:

  • Report the accident immediately to your supervisor.
  • Get copies of any reports your supervisor or medical personnel complete on your behalf.
  • Write down the contact information of any cruise worker or passenger who witnessed your accident.
  • When possible, take steps to document the accident area. Take videos or pictures of where the accident occurred, as well as your injuries, when possible. While it remains fresh in your mind, write down what you can remember from the accident, such as debris lying in the walkway or broken steps.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Be sure to follow any advice given to you by the doctor closely. Ask for copies of any reports the doctor or medical staff complete.

Since crew members live aboard the ship, they may feel pressured to return to work sooner than they should. But if you return to work before you are fully recovered, you run the risk of making your injuries worse. If you are asked to return to work before you have recovered, you should notify your supervisor of your concern. Ask them to document the reason for your refusal in writing and give you a copy.

What Laws Cover Crew Members Who Are Hurt?

Unlike land-based companies, cruise ship workers aren’t covered by traditional worker compensation insurance. Instead, injured cruise ship workers seek protection under maritime law when recovering damages.

Cruise ship workers may be eligible to recover damages if they qualify under the Jones Act. Under this Act, a cruise ship worker must meet the definition of a “seaman” by:

  • Contributes to the overall mission or function of the vessel
  • The work that they do proves that they are a crew member
  • They spend at least 30% of their time working on the ship while in navigation.

Additionally, the crew member must demonstrate that their employer or another employee was negligent in their responsibilities. And the crew member must also show that their injuries resulted from this negligence.

Employees who are covered under worker's compensation laws are not required to prove negligence. This is a marked difference from the requirements placed on injured crew members.

An injured cruise ship worker may also recover damages under the maritime doctrine of unseaworthiness. If any part of the vessel is deemed to be unseaworthy, including the ship, equipment, or crew, the worker may be entitled to compensation beyond what the Jones Act provides if the worker was injured as a result.

What Are Maintenance and Cure?

Qualified crew members who meet the definition of a seaman may be entitled to receive maintenance and cure. Maintenance refers to the compensation you are entitled to from the day you were hurt until you have recovered. Cure is the right to receive competent care and recover medical expenses.

In addition, an injured crew member may also be entitled to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

What Is Arbitration?

Cruise ship workers typically sign a contract as a condition of employment. Most cruise lines include a voluntary arbitration clause with the agreement. Arbitration typically involves a hearing whereby an independent third party reviews the evidence and decides on the case.

While it may seem easier to keep the proceedings out of court, injured cruise ship workers don't have the same protections in an arbitration setting as in a court. Cruise lines also retain an advantage in arbitration as they are often involved in selecting a third-party arbitrator.

Why Speak With a Miami Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer?

You may not know that different laws apply when you get hurt while working on a cruise ship. Unlike workplace injuries that happen on land, worker's compensation doesn't cover cruise ship workers. Instead, an injured crew member seeks compensation through maritime law.

At Wolfson & Leon, we dedicate our practice to seeking justice for people hurt in accidents. If you are a cruise ship worker injured on the job, you should seek legal advice from a law firm experienced in maritime law. We invite you to contact us today for a free and confidential analysis of your case. Feel free to ask questions and learn what legal remedies may be available by calling Wolfson & Leon today at (305) 285-1115.

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