Jones Act / Unseaworthiness Claims Attorneys

At the law firm of John W. Merting, P.A., we have over 40 years of experience dealing with the requirements of the Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims. For over 40 years, John Merting has been assisting families of individuals suffering catastrophic injuries, career-ending injuries, and wrongful death on all kinds of vessels across the world. He helps people on a contingency basis, charging nothing until his client receives a settlement or jury award.

Maintenance And Cure

Offshore oil field workers, seamen, crewmen, commercial fishermen, and other persons working aboard vessels have special rights under federal maritime law known as maintenance and cure. When injured, these workers have rights to:

  • Maintenance: daily room and board expenses until maximum medical recovery is reached

  • Cure: authorization and payment of medical expenses

Federal maritime law covers these rights because workers' compensation laws that apply to land-based employment do not apply to work aboard vessels. But like workers' compensation claims, it does not matter who is at fault for an accident aboard ship. Maintenance and cure rights are triggered automatically — no seaman should ever sign any release in order to receive maintenance and cure.

Jones Act

Seamen (members of a vessel's crew) are covered under a United States statute known as The Jones Act, which provides a direct cause of action against the seaman's employer for its negligence and/or the negligence of its employees. Damages recoverable may include past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of income, and past and future pain and suffering. Negligence of the injured seaman (comparative negligence) can reduce the amount of the potential recovery.

Unseaworthiness Claims

If anyone working on a vessel is injured because of unseaworthy and unsafe conditions such as unprotected work places, foreign substances on decks, and/or insufficient crew or training, the vessel itself and the employer may be liable. This is an area of strict liability — unlike slip and fall cases on land, there is no need to prove that the owner of the ship knew about the dangerous condition.

For both Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims, Mr. Merting seeks to obtain for clients all of the elements of compensation to which they are entitled to by law.

However, if extensive litigation is necessary, Mr. Merting has the experience, expertise and resources to protect his client's rights. In one recent case, for example, Mr. Merting went through four extensive evidentiary hearings and an appeal in Rhode Island federal court to protect his client's rights.

Contact Our Lawyer

Contact maritime and Jones Act attorney John Merting and speak with him at no charge about your situation. You can also fill out a special personal injury intake form. Mr. Merting handles each case personally, never handing clients off to assistants or paralegals. From law offices in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Mr. Merting represents clients nationwide and throughout the world who have been injured at sea. Our Gulf Breeze area law firm serves mariners throughout the Gulf Coast in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, the Mississippi River and the Intracoastal Waterway.