Crewmember and Seamen Injury

Serving Miami, Florida and Nationwide


Crewmembers that are considered "seamen" under admiralty and maritime law have unique rights and benefits if they are injured while on duty. Under the Jones Act, seamen can sue their employer for the existence of a dangerous condition onboard a ship, even if the owner was previously unaware of the hazard. However, the Jones Act is a complex piece of legislation that can be difficult to navigate without the help of an experienced maritime attorney.

If you are a seaman who has been injured on the job, our Board-Certified Miami maritime attorney John H. (Jack) Hickey can help you file an effective claim. Call us today at (855) 375-3727 for a free case evaluation.

Maintenance and Cure Benefits

If an accident occurs and a seaman is injured on the job, they have a right to benefits known as "maintenance and cure," which are intended to cover:

  • Daily living expenses, that is, food and lodging;  and
  • Prompt and adequate medical care for any of the injuries suffered in the service of the ship.

These benefits are available to all crewmembers  who meet the "seaman" designation, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Even if the accident took place off of the vessel, the seaman may still be eligible for maintenance and cure benefits if they were on the job, that is in service of the ship, while the incident occurred.

The Jones Act

Apart from maintenance and cure, seamen are also potentially entitled to damages for their injuries through The Jones Act (also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920). This Act was established to protect the rights of crewmembers who are exposed to the perils of the sea.  Anyone who lives and works onboard a ship is exposed to the perils of the sea even if they are a waiter in a cruise line restaurant.  Under the Jones Act, the crewmember has to show that the cruise line was negligent. However, there is a relaxed standard for showing that the negligence caused the accident or the injuries.  The case law provides that the ship will be liable for causing the accident if the negligence even in the slightest degree caused the accident. 

The ship owner may also be liable for the unseaworthiness of the ship. An unseaworthy vessel or part of the vessel is where that part is not fit for the purpose for which it was intended.  It must be a safe place to work and live. Examples of unseaworthiness may include:

  • Inadequate crew
  • Defective ship equipment
  • Slippery or oily decks
  • Worn ladders and stairs
  • Lack of proper safety gear
  • Unsafe work practices

If you are not legally considered a seaman, you may still have rights to compensation under The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

Make sure you have the experienced legal help you need to obtain the compensation you deserve as an injured maritime worker. For a free case evaluation, please contact Hickey Law Firm, P.A. online today or call (855) 375-3727 to speak to one of our Miami maritime lawyers. We represent injured seamen and crewmembers throughout the state of Florida.