Every year, thousands of patrons and customers embark on cruise ships and commercial vessels departing from Miami. Unfortunately, accidents happen at sea and at the port, and a victim might not know how to receive compensation for their injuries.
A Miami attorney knowledgeable in maritime and admiralty law can be immensely helpful in these situations. Maritime and admiralty law is a highly specific set of federal and international laws that detail how and when a victim can recover compensation for their injuries. Most injured customers of a maritime company will have the right to sue for damages caused by their negligence. However, if you are an injured employee of a maritime company, there are only certain situations in which filing a lawsuit will be permitted.
Our Miami maritime and admiralty attorneys at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A., have years of experience fighting for justice at sea. Contact us today at (305) 204-5369 for a free case assessment.
Maritime and Admiralty Law in Miami, FL
While they are similar, maritime and admiralty law is a different practice area than boating accident law. Many boating accident cases are often a question of basic legal negligence. Maritime and admiralty law, however, is intended to govern accidents on navigable or international waters.
Navigable waters are those bodies of water used for interstate or foreign commerce and fall under federal maritime and admiralty law, not state law. Common examples include the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. However, a victim’s injuries must be tied to some maritime activity to apply maritime and admiralty law to a case.
Additionally, accidents that take place in federal waters must be filed in federal court. This means that attorneys litigating maritime and admiralty cases must be licensed to practice in federal court. Some states require attorneys to have an additional certification to practice maritime law in federal court. Our Miami maritime and admiralty attorneys can explain how these special requirements could affect your case.
Recovering Compensation After a Miami, FL, Maritime and Admiralty Accident
Recovering compensation after a maritime and admiralty accident can be confusing since it depends on the injured person’s relationship with the vessel.
Injured passengers may file a lawsuit against the negligent parties responsible for their injuries. Many passengers are injured in slip-and-fall accidents but could also be injured by falling objects or while on a shore excursion.
Injured Seamen and Crew
The commercial nature of maritime and admiralty cases means that injuries to seamen and other crew are quite common. A crewmember’s right to recover compensation is governed by the Jones Act, specifically 46 U.S. Code § 30104, which allows maritime employees to sue for the injuries caused by their employer’s negligence. This also applies to yacht crew members. However, injured crew members must spend at least 30% of their work time aboard the vessel to qualify.
Workers who spend their time onboard a vessel and at the port are permitted to recover compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act permits. The following are maritime workers who commonly work on land and sea:
- Ship repairmen
- Marine construction workers
- Crane operators
- Gas and oil platform employees
Remember, though, that the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Jones Act operate much like Workers’ Compensation. This means they are exclusive remedies employees must utilize to receive compensation rather than filing a lawsuit.
Physical or Sexual Assault on a Cruise Ship
Sometimes a person is injured at sea not through negligence but by the intentional harmful act of another. If a crew member or other passenger physically or sexually assaults someone, the perpetrator can be held liable for their harmful conduct. The maritime company or vessel owner could also be held liable if their negligence led to the dangerous conditions that allowed your assault, like failing to provide adequate security onboard.
Common Injuries Caused by Maritime and Admiralty Accidents in Miami, FL
Maritime and admiralty accidents cause some of the most catastrophic injuries a person could suffer, with some cases resulting in death. The types of injuries sustained in a maritime accident might require significant and expensive medical treatment. The following are some common injuries caused by maritime and admiralty accidents in Miami:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Lung infections caused by water inhalation
- Serious soft tissue injuries
- Electrical and thermal burn injuries
Our Miami maritime and admiralty attorneys can help you regardless of your injuries.
Statutes of Limitations for Maritime and Admiralty Lawsuits in Miami, FL
The statute of limitations refers to the time limit an injured person must file a maritime and admiralty lawsuit or insurance claim in Miami. However, federal law has different deadline requirements depending on the victim in the case. It is crucial to identify the correct statute of limitations in your case. With rare exceptions, the court will dismiss your case if you do not file within the time limit, preventing you from recovering compensation through litigation.
According to 46 U.S. Code § 30106, most victims of a personal injury or death at sea have three years from the date of the injuries to file a lawsuit.
For families who have suffered an untimely death because of another person’s negligence, the Death on the High Seas Act provides three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, the fatal accident must have occurred at least three nautical miles away from shore.
According to the Jones Act, crew members injured at sea must file a claim against their employer within three years of the date of the accident. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act has the shortest time limit, providing only one year from the date of the injury for an injured worker to file a claim. Our Miami maritime and admiralty attorneys can review your case to ensure that your lawsuit or claim is filed promptly.
Our Miami, FL, Maritime and Admiralty Attorneys Can Help
If you were injured at sea or in a maritime workplace, our Miami maritime and admiralty attorneys can provide you with a free case evaluation today. Call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369.