Here are 4 questions (and answers) from injured cruise line crewmembers
If I’ve been hired to work on a vessel, do I have any right to be compensated if I suffer an injury or illness?
Yes, but your rights depend upon what you were hired to do, and whether there was any negligence or unseaworthiness involved. To qualify as a crewmember, it is not necessary to be directly involved in a vessel’s movement from place-to-place, so long as your work contributes to the accomplishment of the vessel’s overall mission.
For example, processors on factory trawlers or on fish-processing ships, and food-service workers and card dealers on passenger vessels are all crewmembers. Even marine construction workers on special crafts such as dredges may qualify.
If I am a crewmember and there is no negligence or unseaworthiness involved, what are my rights?
You are entitled to maintenance (a daily allowance to help support you), cure (your medical expenses), and wages (a continuation of your pay, at least for a brief interval, and perhaps longer, depending on the terms of your employment agreement).
Under what circumstances must the above benefits be paid?
Whenever a crewmember becomes injured or ill while still in the service of the vessel. The injury or illness need not be caused by the crewmember’s work. Even a crew member who suffers an injury or illness while on authorized shore leave may be entitled to these benefits, so long as he or she is “on call” and bound to resume the performance of duties upon command.
If there is negligence or unseaworthiness, are there additional benefits?
Yes. Under Maritime law, if a crewmember’s injury or illness has been caused even to the slightest degree by negligence, the individual may recover damages in addition to the basic benefits outlined above.
Under Maritime law, unseaworthiness does not refer to vessels which are just about to sink, but is rather a very broad term, including any defect or deficiency in a vessel, equipment, supervision or personnel.
Under these circumstances, if injured due to either negligence or unseaworthiness of the vessel, a crewmember may collect damages for out of pocket losses, past and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, as well as damages for past and future pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.