Our lawyers represent crewmembers and seafarers from all over the world. One of the first questions that must be answered when a client contacts the law firm is whether United States law applies to their personal injury claim. When it comes to the United States based cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian (NCL), Disney, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, United States law will most likely apply. The application of United States law is more complex when it comes to cargo vessels or cruise ships that are not based in the United States. This article is meant to assist injured seafarers in determining whether United States law applies to their personal injury claims.
The courts determined the word “seaman” found in the Jones Act is not limited to American citizens or residents. A foreign seaman can take advance of Unites States law including the Jones Act, Penalty Wage Act as well as general maritime law claims of unseaworthiness and failure to provide maintenance and cure. In other words, just because a seaman is a citizen of another country it does not necessarily mean the seafarer cannot bring a Jones Act negligence or general maritime law claim in the United States.