Miami Cruise Ship Lawyer: Negligence vs. Unseaworthiness

Whether it is the beauty of the open seas or a desire to travel, working on a cruise ship definitely has its perks. You get to meet new people, visit exotic places, and spend time in the fresh air.

While many employees are subject to workplace hazards, those who work on cruise ships are often subject to more extreme dangers. A passenger spilling a drink or water splashes up from the ocean can make the outdoor decks and walkways slippery. A cruise ship worker could be hurt when carrying bulky luggage into rooms or if there isn't enough staff to help move heavy equipment. Lack of safety equipment or improper training can lead to injury. A cruise ship worker may also fall victim to violence from other employees or passengers aboard.

Land-based employees are typically covered by workers' compensation when they get hurt. However, a cruise ship worker is not afforded that same protection. Instead, the injured worker must turn to maritime law for relief. Since maritime laws are complex, it is critical to speak with an attorney who is experienced in this area.

Injured cruise ship workers should call Wolfson & Leon for help. Our team of Miami maritime lawyers provides a free and confidential case review. We review your claim for its legal merits and let you know what legal remedies may be possible. If you were badly hurt while working on a cruise ship, call Wolfson & Leon today at (305) 285-1115 for your free and confidential case consultation.

What Is the Difference Between Negligence and Unseaworthiness?

Crew members who suffer severe injuries on the job typically rely on the Jones Act and general maritime law to recover damages when they’ve been hurt. Under the Jones Act, an injured cruise ship worker must prove that they meet the definition of a “seaman.” In addition, the injured crew member must demonstrate that the employer or other employees were negligent in their responsibilities and that the crew member was hurt as a result.

Negligence: When an employer fails to exercise reasonable care to maintain safe conditions on the ship, they may be considered negligent. Examples may include lack of crew member training, inadequate or missing safety devices, and broken equipment. If the employer or other employees are found to be negligent, and the crew member was hurt as a result, they may have a claim under the Jones Act.

Unseaworthiness: Seaworthiness refers to the vessel's design, maintenance, and character. A seaworthy vessel means the hull, equipment, and crew all perform their intended functions to operate the ship. A vessel may be deemed unseaworthy for a crew member if they cannot perform their work in a safe environment.

Unseaworthiness is relative to the cruise ship worker. And any health or safety hazard can render a vessel unseaworthy. For example, if the engine breaks down and the ship cannot move, that doesn't necessarily mean that the vessel is unseaworthy for a crew member. But if a worker gets hurt on a cruise ship that doesn't have adequate medical supplies or its medical team is poorly trained, the vessel may be considered unseaworthy.

Maritime Law and the Injured Cruise Ship Worker

When a cruise ship worker gets hurt, they cannot pursue compensation under workers' compensation laws. Instead, they must seek financial relief through maritime law. Injured crew members may be able to seek compensation under the Jones Act to pay for their lost income, medical care, and pain and suffering.

To qualify under the Jones Act, the injured crew member must meet the definition of a "seaman." In addition, the cruise ship worker must prove that their employer or other employees were negligent in their responsibilities. Further, the crew member must demonstrate that their injuries resulted from this negligence.

A crew member injured due to an unsafe or defective condition on the vessel might be eligible to file a claim under the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness. If an injured cruise ship worker can demonstrate that their injuries resulted from an unsafe environment, they might be able to recover any damages available under maritime law.

Miami Law Firm for Injured Cruise Ship Worker

As an injured cruise ship worker, you need to take steps to protect your financial interests. Yet employment contracts and the complexities of maritime law can make it difficult to know your rights and how to proceed.

Wolfson & Leon defends the rights of workers hurt on cruise ships. Our team of Miami maritime attorneys can help you navigate the legal complexities that cruise ship accidents often bring. With our free and confidential case evaluation, injured crew members can ask questions and learn more about their legal options when they've been hurt. Call Wolfson & Leon today for your free and confidential case analysis at (305) 285-1115.

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