There is a popular misconception that working on a Miami cruise ship is a dream job, with crew members enjoying great weather, leading guests on fun excursions, and taking advantage of amazing amenities. In truth, cruise ship employees are exposed to significant hazards when performing job-related tasks. They work around heavy equipment and water attractions, all in a constantly moving environment made more dangerous by weather and rough seas. If you are a cruise ship employee who was hurt on the job, it is a comfort to know that you have legal options under the Jones Act, sometimes called Merchant Marine Act of 1920.
The Jones Act establishes a type of federal workers’ compensation system for employees who might not be covered by state laws, but the legal requirements and process are different. It is wise to retain a Miami cruise ship accident lawyer to ensure you receive fair monetary damages for your losses, since the concepts are complicated. However, some information about your rights may be helpful.
Overview of Remedies Under the Jones Act
You may be aware that Florida’s workers’ comp laws create a no-fault system for recovering benefits, so you do not need to prove that your employer was at fault. Under the Jones Act, injured workers ARE required to show that the employer was negligent. This makes cruise ship accident claims similar to personal injury lawsuits, with one crucial exception that works in your favor: The burden of proof is lower with respect to causation. For a Jones Act claim, you must prove that negligence played a role instead of the direct cause.
Some additional points to note include:
- Jones Act covers “seamen,” which is all employees who perform tasks on a water-based vessel at least 30% of their work time. Most cruise ship crew will qualify.
- The statute of limitations for a claim under the Jones Act is three years, so you must file a case in court before the deadline expires.
- Carelessness by cruise ship workers could affect your compensation, since the Jones Act incorporates the concept of comparative fault. If you were also negligent in causing the accident, your damages are reduced proportionally.
Benefits for Injured Cruise Ship Workers
The amounts you can receive under the Jones Act are also different compared to workers’ comp – and, again, this works in your favor. State workers’ comp laws limit you to recovering for medical costs, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and similar benefits. Monetary damages for pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and emotional distress are not available. However, these noneconomic losses are recoverable through a Jones Act claim.
Consult With a Miami Cruise Ship Accidents Attorney About Your Options
If you were injured while working on a cruise ship, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA right away to discuss your remedies under the Jones Act. We can schedule a free case evaluation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL. After reviewing your circumstances, we can advise you on the process.