Crewmember Accidents

Working as a crew member can be a dangerous job.

For centuries, seafaring was considered one of the most dangerous professions in the world, and crew members still suffer severe, catastrophic injuries, or even die, as a result of their work at sea. Some shipowners have historically tried to take advantage of injured crew members, seeking to avoid paying wages, firing them for bringing a claim, not providing proper medical care, and not paying fair compensation when crew members are injured in the line of duty.

The laws of the United States are designed to protect crew members from abusive employment practices. 

Under United States general maritime law, seamen are regarded as wards of the court and must be treated by shipowner-employers as they would treat children. United States maritime laws are among the most robust in the world. Miami-Dade County, Florida, is the last place shipowners want to be sued. They go to great lengths to avoid a South Florida court, incorporating foreign choice of law and arbitration provisions in their seafarer contracts. Crew members need protection, and they need attorneys experienced in handling crew member claims to protect their rights, secure their well-being, ensure employers treat them fairly, and to help them enforce the laws of the United States and elsewhere. Mase Seitz Briggs does that. Our experienced maritime attorneys have handled maritime lawsuits around the globe. We can help you if you or a loved one was injured as a crew member.

Mase Seitz Briggs has decades of experience specializing in maritime law and handling crew member cases and claims. We know how to get you the compensation you deserve. Our maritime trial lawyers are based in South Florida, in Miami—home for many shipping companies and in close proximity to two of the largest and most active Florida ports, Port Miami and Port Everglades—and specialize in handling crew member matters. But Mase Seitz Briggs is not confined to practicing in South Florida. We have handled cases in Panama, the Philippines, Monaco, France, and the United Kingdom.

If you are a crew member and have suffered an injury, not been paid what you are owed, or have otherwise not been treated properly, call us today for a free consultation.

Crew Member Injury Claims: Jones Act and Unseaworthiness

Under U.S. maritime law, crew members injured on board a vessel usually have a claim for negligence (“Jones Act”) or unseaworthiness. These causes of action are similar but have important differences. The Jones Act is like the land-based worker’s compensation law but for seafarers, and unseaworthiness claims arise when a vessel is not in proper condition. One important difference between a Jones Act negligence claim and an unseaworthiness claim is that, under the Jones Act, the connection between the negligence and the injury need only be slight. This is often referred to as the featherweight causation standard, which makes it easier for crew members to prevail. Choosing which standard to bring a claim under is a crucial decision. This is why you need a team of highly skilled and experienced maritime trial lawyers to represent you if you are a crew member and suffered an injury while employed, whether on the ship or ashore.