Maritime Law Center

Getting compensation for injuries during recreational boating usually involves proving negligence.

Cruise ships must provide safe transportation to passengers, but ticket terms may limit lawsuits.

Maritime employers can be held liable for failing to keep their vessels reasonably safe.

People performing maritime work on or near navigable waters can get disability and medical benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How does the contract in my cruise ship ticket affect my right to sue for injuries?
    Contracts in cruise ship tickets may limit passengers to suing for injuries within a certain time and in a certain place. A contract also might specify the law that will apply to the claim. A passenger may challenge the validity of these provisions, but courts generally enforce them.
  • How are Jones Act damages different from workers’ compensation benefits?
    Jones Act damages for injured seamen require proving fault by an employer or a coworker. In contrast, workers’ compensation benefits do not require proving fault. Jones Act damages cover a broader range of harm than workers’ compensation, though.
  • How are Jones Act claims different from personal injury claims?
    Jones Act claims impose a lower burden of proof on injured seamen than personal injury claims do on other accident victims. Causation in a Jones Act claim only requires proving that the defendant’s negligence contributed to the injuries to some extent. In a personal injury case, causation usually requires proving that the defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor.
  • Should I file for workers’ compensation or benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
    You might be able to file for both workers’ compensation and benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) if you are eligible under both systems. However, you cannot receive double benefits for the same injury. LHWCA benefits are usually more generous and may provide types of disability benefits that are not available through workers’ compensation.
  • What is the doctrine of unseaworthiness?
    The doctrine of unseaworthiness requires a ship owner to ensure that their ship, equipment, and crew are adequate to fulfill their intended purposes in operating the ship. If the ship, equipment, or crew is not reasonably adequate, and a seaman is injured as a result, the seaman can sue the ship owner for damages under general maritime law.
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