Crew members work very hard to enable smooth operations of cruise ships. Without their help, there will be no cruise industry and it is the duty of cruse companies to take care of the health and wellbeing of their crew members.
It is important to remember that while in employ of a cruise ships, you have certain rights and protections under the law.
Like passengers, crew members are sometime witness to questionable decisions that cruise ship companies make. However, unlike the passengers, most crew members are afraid to talk about the issues they have experienced because they are afraid of losing their job or because they are treated unfairly when they complain and speak out. Unfortunately, these fears are not unfounded. There have been cases of cruise lines persecuting and firing crew members for complain about poor working conditions or for claiming that their employer should change a policy after a specific incident. However, this behavior is not legal. If you are a victim of retribution after speaking out, your lawyer can help your case in the court.
If you do not speak out, you will continue to suffer waiting for something worse to happen and, which in turn means that you can end up with huge medical bills that have accumulated due to your inability to work and earn. Silence will not help ! At best, it will mean that you will have to suffer the same problems repeatedly, and at worst, it can lead to life-altering consequences.
Maintenance and Cure
The first thing you need to know if you are hurt when you work on a cruise ship is that you have a right to benefits referred to as "Maintenance" and “Cure” benefits. What exactly are these? “Maintenance” benefits refer to salaries that your employers must continue to pay if you cannot do your job. They must pay 100% of your wages, not just for the remainder of the voyage, but also until you are healed and able to start working again. If your injury is something that prevents you from returning to work, you may have a right to disability benefits. “Cure” benefits allow you to immediately make use of all needed and related medical services at your employer’s expense. These can include hospitalization, physical therapy, etc. If your employer does not approve these benefits and violate their obligations, you can then sue them and not only demand compensation for the cost of your treatment, but also demand compensation for the pain and suffering caused due to their negligence. For those who have "seaman status", there are even more issues that you can sue your employer about.
Most crew members do not know about this, but there are all sorts of things that you could sue your employer for if you have the "seaman status". If this applies to you, the Jones Act protects you and can help you in court.
Have you noticed a dangerous condition that your employers ignore? You can sue them about it even if it has not yet led to an injury or if they are not aware of the same.
Earned wages, unearned wages, and sick pay. This is money that they owe you, and they can’t just take it away.
Contract breach. Cruise lines must retain a contract with you or you can sue them.
Wrongful discharge. The employer fired you after complaining about an issue or suing over your injury? This is not legal, and you can add it to your list of charges.
If you are an injured employee of a cruise line and need an attorney or have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and you will be connected to an attorney you can help you with your potential claim.