Representing Injured Seamen, Crew & Passengers
If you are the victim of an offshore accident, it is crucial to hire an experienced maritime attorney who fully understands the Jones Act and other unique aspects of maritime law. With more than 85 years of experience, our lawyers at Karns & Kerrison take a special interest in maritime injuries throughout Rhode Island from our offices in Providence and Middletown. We have considerable knowledge in this area of the law.
Many of our clients were hurt in:
- Commercial fishing vessel accidents
- Merchant marine vessel accidents
- Cargo ship accidents
- Marine collisions
- Cruise ship accidents
- Boating and fishing accidents
- Personal watercraft accidents
- Recreational accidents
We also represent longshoremen and harbor workers, though the process for seeking compensation differs. We pride ourselves on our client advocacy, providing the information injured clients and their loved ones need to make the right decisions for their futures and families. We will take the time to learn about your situation and provide results-oriented counsel that will help you seek the full and fair compensation you need.
For answers to your questions about maritime law, call 401-841-5300.
Compensation for Injured Seamen & Maritime Workers
Maritime workers who qualify as "seamen" and are injured on a vessel in navigation can recover compensation from their employer under the Jones Act for negligence or under maritime/admiralty law for unseaworthiness. The requirements for seamen status include performing duties that contribute to the function of a vessel.
Examples of "seamen" can include those who work on:
- Fishing vessels
- Cargo ships
- Supply boats
- Movable drilling rigs
- Cruise ships
If they are injured while carrying out their job, seamen are entitled to full and fair compensation under the Jones Act or maritime law. Injured seamen can sue for future losses that include an inability to return to the job they held on the vessel before they were injured, causing them to suffer a permanent loss of income.
Injured seamen may also be entitled to compensation for:
- Maintenance and cure
- Future medical bills
- Loss of use
- Pain and suffering
These damages can be paid by way of a settlement or court verdict. Recovering the full amount you are entitled to, however, will often require the assistance of a lawyer skilled in maritime law.
What Qualifies as a "Vessel?"
In order to recover compensation under the Jones Act or maritime law, an injured seaman must be working on a vessel in navigation. A "vessel" is considered to be any floating structure that is used as an instrument of commerce and/or one that is intended for transportation on navigable waters. The floating structure, however, need not be engaged in transportation at the time of the incident, nor must it have its own power.
Navigable structures that are moored, anchored, or jacked up can still qualify as vessels.
Whether a structure is floating or engaged in transportation can be a question of the owner's intent. For example, a drilling platform permanently affixed to the seafloor is not considered a vessel; however, if the drilling platform can be jacked up and moved, and has been moved, it can be considered a vessel. In addition, a riverboat casino that is moored for a number of months can still be considered a vessel under the law.
What Qualifies as "In Navigation?"
In maritime law, a vessel is considered in navigation when it is engaged as an instrument of commerce and transportation on navigable waters. Once a vessel's construction has been completed and it is placed in service or commissioned, it is deemed to be in navigation until it is specifically taken out of navigation.
A vessel that is moored undergoing repairs, even in dry dock, retains its status as being in navigation. When work is being done and a voyage is planned in the foreseeable future, the vessel is in navigation. Floating workstations that have no transportation or commercial function are not normally considered vessels.
Contact Our Maritime Injury Attorneys in Rhode Island
If you or someone you love has sustained a serious injury in a maritime accident, we invite you to call our office at 401-841-5300 to schedule a free consultation with our maritime injury lawyers in Rhode Island. Karns & Kerrison can give you the information you need to make the right decisions for your future.
Call us at 401-841-5300 to arrange your FREE consultation. We serve clients throughout Rhode Island from our offices in Providence and Middletown.