Maritime injuries are common, and they happen for a reason. It could be due to someone’s negligence, intentional act, or a combination of the two. If you are a maritime worker injured in the course of your work or employment, consulting an experienced maritime attorney can help you understand your rights. You may have a basis to claim a general maritime negligence case against the party that has caused your injuries.

The Jones Act

The Jones Act is also referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. It is a federal law that seeks to protect the rights of an injured seaman under negligence circumstances. The injured seaman can file a claim against the employer for negligence. The jones act emphasizes that maritime employers should provide a safe working environment and exercise care while providing the same. Some of the elements unique to the Jones Act negligence claims include:

  • An employer’s negligence includes but is not limited to the unsafe working environment, hours, failure to regularly inspect the vessel, warn employees of hazards, and repair dangerous conditions on time.
  • A shipowner or employer can be held liable for intentional torts if one of their employees causes another employee’s injury or wrongful death.
  • A vessel owner has a nondelegable responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for their seamen.

Maintenance and cure

Maintenance and cure is a legal doctrine under the Jones Act that caters to the needs of commercial fishers and merchant seamen who suffer an injury during the service of a vessel. The injured person can seek economic and non-economic damages through maintenance and cure- maritime injury lawyer. As a crew member, if injured while in service of the vessel, you may qualify for maintenance and cure benefits.

Negligent vs. intentional torts

When injured by another person at work, the conduct is a tort or a bad act that injures another person. So torts can either be negligent or intentional. Negligent torts refer to when you suffer an injury due to someone else’s lack of reasonable care, while intentional torts occur when someone harms you on purpose at work. Your maritime injury claim depends on the type of tort, the damage, and the case’s circumstances.

Negligence torts

In the maritime industry law, negligence torts are the most common personal injury claims. A maritime negligence claim requires the claimant to satisfy these four factors.

  • The duty of care refers to the ordinary care to prevent injury to others.
  • The breach occurs when someone fails to exercise reasonable care.
  • Causation means that the breach should be the actual cause of the claimant’s injuries.
  • Damages must be quantifiable through monetary compensation.

Intentional torts

An intentional tort is a deliberate act undertaken knowingly to cause injury or the wrongful death of another person. In maritime law, if the tort was intentional punitive damages are requested, but the process may vary from one state to another. Intentional torts include assault, battery, and other illegal acts.

Examples of injuries asserted under general negligence in maritime law

  • Unseaworthy vessel
  • Negligence by the vessel staff
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Falling overboard or drowning
  • Recreational accidents.
  • Physical and sexual assault
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Fires


Always work with an experienced maritime attorney to navigate your maritime injury claim.