Experienced Attorneys Regarding Seamen's Personal Injury And Wrongful Death

Under the Jones Act, merchant mariners and working seamen enjoy certain advantages in recovering maintenance, cure, and damages for accidents or illness suffered while employed in aid of navigation of a vessel. To learn more about our ability to recover damages on your claim under the Jones Act, contact the California seamen personal injury attorneys of Brodsky Micklow Bull & Weiss LLP.

What Actions To Pursue For Compensation

Most land employees are limited to workers' compensation benefits for on-the-job accidents resulting in personal injury, or permanent or temporary disability. By contrast, the Jones Act gives the working seaman the right to his or her full damages for the negligence of the owner, the master or fellow crew members. In cases where the vessel's unseaworthiness is found to have caused the injury, an independent ground of liability will support a claim for damages against the owner.

Negligence can include:

  • Failure to adequately hire, train or staff the vessel
  • Not providing proper or adequate gear, protective clothing or equipment for the job
  • Failure to follow or enforce safety measures, including the removal of safety features on machines
  • Improper maintenance of the ship or its equipment
  • Working in heavy weather

Unseaworthiness can include:

  • Poorly maintained decks, gangways and passageways, including slippery surfaces
  • Dangerous or extreme work methods, including excessive lifting
  • Inadequate crewing or undermanning of the vessel
  • Loose or improperly stored lines, wires and cables
  • Defective hulls, rails and bulkheads
  • Insufficient lifeboats and malfunctioning emergency response gear

Pursuing Complex Injury Claims

The California seamen's personal injury attorneys of Brodsky Micklow Bull & Weiss LLP know just how intricate the legal questions can be in cases involving serious injury or death at sea. We know what considerations govern the status of a "seaman" in cases where Jones Act coverage might be doubtful. We know how to analyze the factors of nationality, ownership, forum, locus, flag, and allegiance to determine whether the Jones Act will cover, for example, a foreign sailor in a foreign ship owned by the Honduran subsidiary of a Delaware corporation, and just where to file the lawsuit.

We also know how to gather and preserve evidence of negligence and unseaworthiness. We know how to prove all the elements of damages allowed in a Jones Act claim. In short, our long and conscientious experience with accidents at sea and in port enables us to make the best presentation possible of your Jones Act claim.

In fatal accidents, the next of kin or personal representative of the victim can seek recovery of wrongful death damages under any one of several approaches — a Jones Act wrongful death lawsuit, an action under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) for accidents that took place on the high seas or even general maritime law independent of any federal statute. The California maritime wrongful death attorneys of Brodsky Micklow Bull & Weiss LLP know how to analyze the facts of your unique situation in order to formulate the best strategy and present your claim in the best forum in order to maximize the prospects for, and size of, your recovery.

For more information about protecting your rights under the Jones Act, contact the San Diego-San Francisco Jones Act lawyers of Brodsky Micklow Bull & Weiss LLP for a free initial consultation on your claim. Contact us by calling (510) 268-6180 or toll free at 855-SEA-SOS1.