Tampa Maritime Injury Lawyer Fights for Insured Seamen

Litigating claims over accidents in harbors or on high seas

Workers injured or killed on vessels, on docks, in shipyards and on offshore drilling rigs are entitled to reimbursement under special laws enacted by Congress, which provide greater protections and benefits than state workers’ compensation systems. These statutes are the Jones Act, covering ship workers at sea. Seamen are also covered by general maritime law. The Law Offices of Bill Dickey, P.A. has been helping injured maritime workers in the Tampa Bay area since 1991. Our skilled advocates will help you understand your rights under these laws and work to recover damages in your behalf.

Tampa Jones Act lawyer well-immersed in seaman’s injury compensation

The Jones Act is designed to provide seamen a fast route to recovering money damages for injuries suffered while acting in service to a United States vessel. Seamen are eligible to receive “maintenance and cure,” which pays an allowance and medical treatment until they have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). They can also bring a claim of unseaworthiness of the vessel, which if proved entitles them to recover damages for pain and suffering as well as past and future lost wages.

To be considered a seaman under the Jones Act, a worker’s duties must contribute to the functioning of the ship or vessel and must have a substantial connection to the vessel’s navigation. This a broad definition that includes, for example, a chef or musician employed on a cruise ship. The seaman must spend at least 30 percent of his working time aboard such a vessel in navigable waters. A seaman can qualify as a Jones Act claimant regardless of whether or not he is a U.S. citizen.

The statute of limitations for filing a Jones Act claim is three years from the date of the injury or accident or from the date is was discovered.

Because the Jones Act applies only to certain workers and vessels, your case may instead fall under the general maritime law, which allows for negligence claims. If you were injured in a boating accident or as a guest on a cruise ship, you can also file a negligence lawsuit outside of the Jones Act.

What constitutes a “Jones Act vessel” is a gray area. Generally, a vessel must be capable of transportation, which means that fixed oil drilling platforms do not qualify. However, floating rigs, semisubmersibles and other mobile offshore drilling units may satisfy the definition.

Consult an experienced Tampa Bay maritime injury law firm to schedule your free initial consultation

If you are a sailor or maritime worker who has been injured at sea, our personal injury firm can advise you on what legal remedies are available in your case. To schedule your free initial consultation at our Tampa or Clearwater office, call the Law Offices of Bill Dickey, P.A. at 813-835-3800 or contact us online.