Our Florida cruise ship accident attorneys use this blog to discuss the rights of cruise ship passengers in the event they are injured by the acts or omissions of the cruise ship industry and its employees.
But what happens when one of those employees becomes injured due to the negligence of a cruise company? Working as a crew member aboard a cruise ship can be a particularly risk job, as cruise crew are consistently exposed to dangerous situations and conditions that can cause serious injury, illness, or death.
In 1920, Congress adopted Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act, referred to as the “Jones Act”, as a means of protecting the rights of crew members and maritime workers that fall under the legal definition of “seamen.” The Jones Act allows a seaman, that is injured as the result of the negligence of an employer or co-worker in the course of his or employment on a vessel, to recover for those injuries.
The operative provision of the Jones Act, codified at 46 U.S.C. § 688(a), provides:
Any sailor who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right to trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply.
The Jones Act mandates that seamen who are injured in the course of their employment are entitled to recover two different type of financial compensation from their employer, known as “maintenance” and “cure” benefits.
“Maintenance” is the obligation of an employer to continue to pay a crew member his or her wages in the event that an on-the-job injury prevents an individual from being physically able to work. If a crew member is injured during a cruise, the employer is required to pay the crew member his or her wages for the remainder of the voyage, and until he or she is fit to return to duty. In the event a crew member is injured to such an extent he or she can never return to work, the employer may be obligated to pay disability.
“Cure” is the obligation of an employer to provide a crew member prompt medical care in the event an injury is sustained in the course of employment. Cure includes an obligation of the employer to pay for the injured crew member’s medical treatment that is reasonably related to the injury and medically necessary. If the employer breaches this duty, the injured crew member may be entitled to recover additional compensation for pain and suffering, attorneys fees, and punitive damages.
The Florida cruise ship accident lawyers of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A., are licensed to practice law in all of Florida’s state and federal courts, and have been representing crew members and cruise ship employees injured at sea for over four decades. If you are a seaman or crew member that has been seriously injured on a cargo ship, cruise ship, or sustained an offshore injury, contact our Florida maritime attorneys for help today.