The best personal injury attorney who devotes their practice to injuries occurring on land will be familiar with state law concepts. Maritime matters, on the other hand, are governed by federal law. If you are injured in a maritime accident you need an attorney who understands maritime law.
Richard Serpe: Master of Laws in Maritime/Admiralty
- Master of Laws in Maritime: After law school, Richard Serpe obtained a Master of Laws in Admiralty law.
- Proctor of Admiralty: He has obtained the highest ranking (Proctor) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States.
- Jones Act Case Success: He has successfully prosecuted cases under the Jones Act, bringing fair and just compensation to those who were injured while performing their duties. He knows how the insurers of commercial vessels will do everything they can to minimize their financial liability.
- Protecting Families: Richard Serpe has successfully settled cases for recreational boating victims that resulted in the death of a loved one by a maritime vessel.
Maritime Settlements & Verdicts
- $3.5 Million – Barge Accident in Richmond, Virginia
- $1.5 Million – Vessel Collision in Portsmouth, Virginia
- $1.25 Million – Barge Accident in Norfolk, Virginia
- $375 Thousand – Unseaworthy Vessel in Maryland
- $260 Thousand – Commercial Fishing Boat Accident in Norfolk, Virginia
- *Please understand that all cases are different. Prior settlements do not guarantee similar outcomes.
- Lack of proper safety training
- Lack of proper occupational training – crew member not properly trained for their job
- Poorly maintained, broken, or faulty equipment or machinery
- The employer fails to provide proper equipment for a crew member’s job/task
- Unseaworthy Vessel – when the vessel is not reasonably fit for its intended purpose
- Failure to hire a competent crew, negligent co-workers
- Collisions with other vessels
Cases We Handle
Barge Accidents, Tugboat Accidents, Commercial Fishing Accidents, Dredging Accidents, Collision Accidents, Amputations, Electrocution Injuries, Drowning and Falling Overboard, Cruise Ship Accidents, Crane and Cargo Accidents, and Recreational Boating Accidents.
The Jones Act vs. Workers’ Compensation
Did you know maritime employees are not covered by normal workers’ compensation insurance? Instead, maritime seamen can file personal injury claims under the Jones Act. If maritime workers can prove that their employer did not provide a safe environment in which to work, they can recover the costs associated with their injury.
Am I A Jones Act Seaman?
- To qualify for these protections, a maritime worker must fall under the Jones Act definition of a “seaman”. U.S. courts have generally interpreted “seamen” as anyone performing work related to a vessel’s purpose while operating in navigable waters. Navigable waters meaning waters capable of being used for commerce.
- The employee must also spend a “significant” amount of their time on the vessel. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis by taking their circumstances of employment into account. However, this typically means at least 30% of their time.
Maintenance and Cure Compensation
Seamen injured while at sea are entitled to maintenance and cure from employers. This doctrine is one of the oldest in maritime law, and it has been traced back nearly 1000 years. It does not matter if the illness or injury is work-related as long as it occurs or manifests itself while the seaman is “in service to the vessel”. As well, the injury cannot be caused by the seaman’s own willful conduct.
- Maintenance Payments – Maintenance should include the cost of maintaining the seaman’s home. This includes rent or mortgage, taxes, insurance, and food. Historically, employers paid amounts around 8 to 12 dollars per day. If the employer tries to pay a low amount like this, an experienced maritime lawyer will seek to show the court your ACTUAL cost of maintenance and seek a higher award.
- Cure Payments – Occasionally, an employer will try to force a seaman to use private medical insurance to pay the bills. This is not a good idea because often the “cure” obligation is more broad than that provided by insurance. Cure should cover all related medical care, and can also include transportation expenses to see the doctors.
Contact Our Virginia Beach Maritime Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured in a maritime-related accident, you should have an experienced Virginia maritime lawyer by your side. Contact us for your free, no obligation consultation.