Maritime Law FAQ

Q1. Why should I hire a Jones Act and Maritime Law attorney?

Maritime Law is a specialized field with unique rules and procedures.  It is based mainly on federal common law and federal statutes, such as the Jones Act.  Just as there are lawyers who specialize in criminal law, divorce, contracts, etc., there are lawyers who have experience and expertise in Maritime Law.  If you are injured in a maritime setting, you need someone with understands this unique area of law.  You wouldn’t seek out a divorce lawyer for a tax problem, would you?

Q2. What should I do when I’m injured?

If you are able, fill out any required accident/injury report, being sure to identify any unsafe condition or action that contributed to your injury.  If you are unsure what caused your accident, you can simply indicate that details will be provided later.  Then, call a maritime lawyer!  Do not, under any circumstances, give a statement, recorded or otherwise, to the company investigator, safety man, or insurance company representative until you have spoken to a lawyer.  Despite what you may be told, such statements are designed to deflect blame from the company onto you.  You can consult with a lawyer, anonymously, so that your legal rights are protected.

Q3. I’m badly injured. Can my family hire you on my behalf?

Yes.  In situations where a person is badly injured or incapacitated, a family member can be appointed to represent their interests.

Q4. Can I afford a maritime attorney?

Yes.  We represent clients on a contingency fee basis which means that we don’t get paid unless you obtain a recovery.

Q5. Do I qualify for medical benefits?

If you are a seaman who is injured in the course of your employment, you are entitled to your reasonable and necessary medical expenses, (called cure under Maritime Law), until you reach maximum medical improvement.

Q6. If I qualify, how do I get medical benefits?

Medical benefits (“cure”) are supposed to be paid automatically, but sometimes require the assistance of a lawyer to obtain.

Q7. What type of benefits am I entitled to as an injured seaman?

Medical benefits (the aforementioned “cure”) and “maintenance,” which is a daily sustenance allowance based on your reasonable living expenses, until you reach maximum medical improvement.  These are paid irrespective of fault.  If you can prove negligence or unseaworthiness, you are also entitled to lost wages, loss of earning capacity, medical benefits after you reach maximum medical improvement, pain and suffering.

Q8. Can I recover benefits if I got injured during a recreational activity?

Yes, if your accident and injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to lost wages, loss of earning capacity, medical benefits, pain and suffering.

Q9. I need financial assistance now. How long will it take to recover benefits?

Maintenance and cure will be paid immediately.  The other available damages are typically recovered through a settlement or a trial.


Jones Act FAQ

Q1. What is the Jones Act?

The Jones Act is a federal negligence statute that affords a remedy to injured crewmembers to sue their employer for money damages.

Q2. How does the Jones Act apply to me as a maritime worker?

If you are a seaman injured while in the course of your employment as a result of employer negligence, you are entitled to recover lost wages, loss of earning capacity, medical bills, pain and suffering.

Q3. How can a Jones Act attorney help me?

You need someone who is experienced in handling Jones Act cases to ensure that the statute is used to your advantage.  The Jones Act is a unique statute that is much different from land-based law.  A lawyer well versed in the Jones Act can use it to maximize your recovery.

Q4. What is my employer’s obligation under the Jones Act?

The touchstone of the Jones Act is the employer’s absolute and non-delegable duty to provide its employees with a safe place to work.

Q5. Is there a statute of limitations on Jones Act cases?

Yes.  Three years.

Q6. What should I do if my workplace is unsafe?

Report the unsafe condition to your supervisor.  This not only hopefully leads to corrective action, but also places the employer on notice of the unsafe condition which can be used to establish negligence in the event you or one of your fellow crewmembers is injured.


O’Bryan Baun Karamanian FAQ

Q1. What qualifies O’Bryan to handle my maritime case?

Maritime law is, and has been, our focus for the past 30 years.  We have the knowledge, experience and dedication to handle your maritime case.

Q2. If you’re in Michigan, how can you handle my case in other state?

In those states where we are not already admitted to practice, we get special permission from the court to handle your case.

Q3. Will you travel to meet me in person?

Of course.

Q4. How long have you practiced Maritime Law?

Since 1984.

Q5. Do you represent workers, employers, or both?

We only represent workers.