Working on the water is strenuous and dangerous. Whether you work in the deck department, the engine department, the steward department or the factory of a vessel, the risk of serious injury and death is always present. If you have suffered an injury while working on any sort of boat, you are entitled to claim compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering and your lost wages, both past and future. These claims are made under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. §30104, claiming negligence, and under the General Maritime Law, claiming an unseaworthy condition of the vessel or its crew. Payment of these claims comes at the end of the case. However, there a number of specific laws which apply to professional seafarers who have been injured or taken ill while on navigable waters.
Additionally, professional mariners likely are entitled to other “upfront” compensation. Seamen and commercial fishermen, who have been injured or taken ill while in the course of their employment usually are entitled to maintenance and cureunder the Jones Act. “Maintenance” refers to money paid for temporary disability. This compensation is calculated daily and usually is supposed to be paid every week or two. “Cure” refers to payment of the injured mariner’s medical and other healthcare expenses, including testing, medication and transportation to the health care providers, in addition to their fees. Unearned Wages is an additional form of maintenance to which professional mariners may be entitled depending upon the Articles (contract) of their engagement.
Attorney Arnold I. Berschler has practiced law for more than 37 years. In that time, he has handled thousands of maritime claims. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted claims on behalf of injured mariners and represented vessel owners. Our depth of experience has been acknowledged by lawyers and insurance companies throughout the United States and underwriters worldwide. Lawyers without experience in admiralty and maritime law regularly refer cases to our firm.
Our law firm has represented members of the following labor unions:
• American Maritime Officers (AMO)
• Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU)
• Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), District 1
• Marine Firemen’s Union
• The International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (MM&P)
• Sailors’ Union of the Pacific (SUP)
• Seafarers International Union (SIU)
If you have suffered any kind of injury or illness while working at sea, you need a lawyer who is familiar with these kinds of claims. For instance, much can depend on whether your injury-accident was witnessed, whether you reported it, who your employer is, on what sort of ship you sailed and/or what you wrote down in your pre-voyage medical history questionnaire. Regardless of your injuries, it is important to speak to lawyer who understands all of the legal issues surrounding maritime and admiralty law.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury on a navigable waterway, call or e-mail our California maritime and admiralty law attorney to set up a consultation. Arnold I. Berschler will either answer your call immediately or return your call within 24 hours. The consultation is free. In personal injury, wrongful death and/or maintenance and cure cases, we offer contingency fees (no attorneys fees upfront).