Maritime Lawyers

By:   Michael A. Winkleman

Are you Suffering from an Accident that Occurred at Sea?

If you or someone you love has been injured in a maritime accident or victimized at sea—or you are grieving the death of a loved one that occurred offshore—you are likely already aware of just how complex the area of admiralty and maritime law is.

You have come to the right place. With over 165 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. are some of the most experienced lawyers in the world to help you recover the compensation you may be entitled to.

Since the firm’s founding in 1971, we have helped thousands of injured passengers and crew members recover the maximum compensation they are entitled to under the law. Let us put our experience to work for you. Our renowned maritime and admiralty law firm has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in favorable verdicts and settlements for our deserving clients.

If you are struggling with the aftermath of a complicated offshore injury, death or accident, let us give you a free case evaluation to determine if you may be entitled to compensation for your medical care, pain, suffering and more. We work exclusively on a contingency fee basis. This means you never pay us a penny unless we make a successful recovery on your behalf.

Our firm will work hard to get you the highest recovery possible. Your consultation is completely free—contact us now to be sure you do not make a mistake that will jeopardize the outcome of your case.

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Why Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A.: By the Numbers

When it comes to the high-stakes intricacies of maritime law—do not just take our word for it.
Our lawyers have:

  • A collective 165 years of experience in maritime and admiralty law.
  • Recovered over $300 million for our clients.
  • Handled over 3,000 successful maritime personal injury claims.
  • Received more than 20 high-profile awards and distinctions, including a Best Lawyers Award for Admiralty and Maritime Law.
  • Appeared on hundreds of nationally televised programs as the expert authority on admiralty and maritime law.
  • A zero-dollar, no-obligation consultation policy. Contact us now so we can help you understand your rights and the steps you should take to get the best possible outcome for your case.

Our Firm Stands Up for the Rights of Victims of Maritime Accidents, Injuries, Assault and Wrongful Death

Maritime Law Defined

Maritime law, also referred to today as Admiralty law, is the area of law concerned with activity that takes place on navigable waters such as the Ocean. Maritime and Admiralty law—interchangeable terms in today’s language—covers various categories and offshore circumstances including cruise ships, cargo vessels, marine commerce, sea navigation, negligence, unseaworthiness, and civil marine torts and injuries to name a few.

Our law firm focuses specifically on maritime law, with a prolific history of winning settlements and verdicts for our clients that have suffered catastrophic injuries, accidents and/or the death of a loved one while aboard a cruise ship, ferry, tugboat, barge, cargo ship, oil rig, commercial fishing boat—or any other vessel at sea.


Compensation under Maritime Law

For individuals and families suffering due to an injustice that occurred at sea, a primary concern is the compensation they may be entitled to. While each case is unique and comes with its own set of circumstances and laws that impact it, maritime law generally dictates that damages such as medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering will be accounted for.

In a wrongful death case, the maritime laws applicable to such claims vary highly based on the status of the person. For example, the compensation recoverable is different for a passenger versus a crew member. For individuals seeking compensation under the Jones Act, Death on the High Seas Act, or a different act within the arena of maritime law—you will absolutely need a highly-qualified, admiralty law attorney that you trust to guide you through your case and ensure a successful recovery.

Contact us now at 877-233-1238 for free, no-strings-attached advice on the steps you should take immediately to ensure you receive the care and compensation you deserve—for the good of your future and that of your family.


Who we Represent

We represent victims of all types of offshore accidents and injuries. Generally, our clients fall into one of the following categories:

Not all cases are black and white. Whether or not you fit into any of the above categories, if you have been the victim of an injury, accident or assault that took place at sea or offshore in any capacity, email or call us now at 877-233-1238 for free advice on your best course of action. Read on to learn more about the individuals we represent and the different types of cases we handle under maritime law.

Cruise Ship Passengers and Crew

Sustaining an injury or becoming the victim of an accident or assault is not on the mind of most cruise passengers setting sail for vacation at sea, nor is it for crew members embarking on their next voyage—but these things happen at sea just as they do on land.

Whether it is an accident due to unsafe conditions aboard the cruise ship or during shore excursions, or sexual assault by a crew member or passenger—anyone can become a victim at any time. Because accidents, injuries, death and assault aboard cruise ships all fall under maritime jurisdiction, an attorney focusing on maritime and admiralty law has the best chance to recover damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering.

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. are regarded as an authority on cruise ship law; our team of twelve lawyers has taken on every major cruise line and handled thousands of cruise ship cases, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. Email or Call us now at 877-233-1238 to see how we may be able to help with your case.

Common Cruise Cases We Handle as Maritime Attorneys

These are some of the more common cruise-related cases we handle as admiralty attorneys. If you have been involved in an incident at sea that is not listed above, contact us now to find out if we can help.

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is headquartered in Miami, Florida—one of the busiest ports and cruise hubs in the United States—enabling our firm to conveniently serve clients from all over the country and the world. Learn more about the practice areas we concentrate on as cruise ship attorneys and reach out to us at 877-233-1238.

Boat, Yacht and Ferry Passengers and Crew

Similar to cruise ship accidents and injuries, those that occur aboard charter boats, private yachts and ferry boats often get complicated. Whether you are an employee, have paid passage or are an invited guest aboard a vessel, the owner and/or operator owes you a duty of reasonable care. If you sustained an injury that reasonably could have been avoided because the owner or operator was unable to uphold this duty of care, you are entitled to seek damages under maritime and admiralty law.

Common Boat, Yacht and Ferry Cases we Handle as Maritime Attorneys

There are so many different types of vessels, incidents and situations that occur within this category, but essentially individuals should understand that if they are injured or harmed while at sea, on coastal waters or within inland waterways due to the negligence of the boat, yacht, or ferry owner and/or operator—they should contact our admiralty attorneys who can provide insight on the most promising course of action.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, owners and operators of seagoing vessels are insured in the event that an accident or incident involving a passenger or a member of the crew should occur. It is the job of the maritime lawyer to help convey the facts of the case so that the liable parties and their insurance companies accept responsibility and provide appropriate damages to the victim. If for some reason both parties are not able to reach a resolution, Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. consists of a team of courtroom-ready lawyers eager to bring your case to trial in pursuit of justice for you.

Learn more about Boat Accidents and Yacht Accidents now.

Jet Ski, Waverunner and Personal Watercraft Operators and Passengers

Accidents involving jet skis, waverunners and personal watercrafts occur for all reasons. Some of the most common include:

  • Poor instruction and training
  • Unsafe conditions
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Poorly maintained equipment
  • Hazardous water conditions
  • Excessive speed

If you were in an accident as the result of any of the conditions listed above—contact the jet ski accident attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. so we can help you with your next steps.

Learn more about Jet Ski, Waverunner and Personal Watercraft Accidents here.

Parasailers

Too often, we do not think about the dangers of alluring vacation activities like parasailing until it’s too late. According to statistics presented by the Parasail Safety Council, parasailing is responsible for more than 500 serious injuries and 80 deaths over the last 30 years.

Parasailing operators are entitled to define their own safety measures, which unfortunately, often results in faulty equipment, posing critical risks to vacationers and thrill-seekers. Parasailing companies should assume responsibility for the safety of its patrons by only operating under safe conditions and providing safe equipment and thorough instruction and supervision.

Parasailing accidents can be minor or major, ranging from minor wounds to catastrophic accidents requiring hospitalization and/or intensive surgery. Regardless of the scale of the accident, or whether or not you signed a waiver, call us for no-strings-attached legal advice on what to do next.

Learn more about parasailing accidents now.

Maritime Workers

Though all the implications of admiralty law are important, some of the most impactful are the considerations for maritime workers that require medical attention and care following a debilitating injury—as well as the families of those workers—particularly in the case of wrongful death while on the job at sea.

Maritime laborers execute some of the world’s most difficult and demanding work, under some of the most dangerous conditions imaginable. The special arena of maritime and admiralty law exists in large part for this reason: to ensure that the hardworking men and women who put their lives at risk daily in the pursuit of an honest living are protected in case of an accident, assault, injury or death.

Maritime Workers we Represent:

  • Jones Act Seamen
  • Seafarers
  • Longshoremen
  • Oil Rig Workers

According to the CDC, “commercial fishing is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S.” Similarly, “the water transportation industry has a fatality rate 4.7 times higher than the rate for all U.S. workers.” Maritime and admiralty law exists in large part to protect these brave individuals, and all maritime laborers, who jeopardize their safety on a daily basis.

Due to the specialized and intricate nature of this aspect of law—if you or a loved one should fall victim to a maritime death, injury, accident or assault—it is imperative that you consult with Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. as we focus specifically on admiralty law and maritime law and thus have the best chance at recouping the compensation you may be entitled to under the Jones Act.

Our firm employs dedicated Jones Act Lawyers who not only file Jones Act claims and defend them in court, but have published books on the Jones Act that are read all over the world.

Jones Act Seaman

The Legal Information Institute (LII) of Cornell Law explains that “the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known as the Jones Act, is a federal statute establishing support for the development and maintenance of a merchant marine in order to support commercial activity and serve as a naval auxiliary in times of war or national emergency.”

LII goes on to explain that “the statute (46 U.S.C. § 30104) also extends the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) to seamen. The Act enables seamen who have been injured at sea during the course of their employment to bring a personal injury action against their employers.”

Essentially, the Jones Act designates that seamen employed on a vessel or working on a vessel while in port have legal protections with regard to workplace injuries. Seamen covered under this federal law should pursue legal representation by an attorney with a prolific history of successfully dealing with Jones Act cases.

Unfortunately, it is common for employers or the responsible party to attempt to minimize a victim’s injury or frame the circumstances in a way that limits their liability, reduces the perception of their involvement, or highlights the victim’s alleged negligence. Avoid this painful reality by engaging with our maritime law firm before you make any decisions or statements or take any actions that could impact your case and jeopardize any reward you may be entitled to.

We are pleased to offer free advice on the actions you need to take to initiate your case. Should you wish to pursue legal action based on our recommendations, our firm will work relentlessly to ensure you recover the damages you may be entitled to.

Seafarers

The US Coast Guard defines Seafarers as “individuals assigned to work on a vessel and who may be at sea for days, weeks, or months as part of their employment on that vessel.” Any seafarer who has suffered injury or death while at sea is entitled to consideration under the Jones Act.

Longshoremen

The term longshoremen refers to “employees in traditional maritime occupations such as longshore workers, ship-repairers, shipbuilders or ship-breakers, and harbor construction workers.” By nature of the work involved in these jobs, such workers face incredible dangers daily.

According to the US Department of Labor, “The Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees disabled from on the job injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel.”

Under this protection, the US federal government also pays out benefits to surviving dependents of the deceased if the occupational injury results in the employee’s death. Family members and loved ones who are either grieving the loss of a loved one, or caring for a longshoreman that sustained a debilitating injury on the job—including a disease, hearing loss, or illness resulting from their employment—are urged to reach out to our maritime firm now. While injuries and death are emotionally excruciating, you may be entitled to compensation that can ease the burden you and your family are carrying.

Oil Rig Workers

While not traditional seamen or seafarers, oil rig workers face tremendous health and safety risks inherent with this line of work. Often working in shifts several-weeks-long at sea, oil workers execute physically demanding tasks aboard often unsteady structures, putting them at risk of bodily harm.

In addition to the physical dangers inherent in this line of work, oil rig workers are exposed to complications from explosions that occur often on rigs—which commonly result in the inhalation of unhealthy levels of fumes and heavy metals along with various other compounds, materials and substances toxic to the human body.

For these reasons, workers and servicers of oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are covered under admiralty and maritime law. No injury or symptom is insignificant when it comes to this line of work. If you are experiencing symptoms related to illness or injury incurred at work, call Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. immediately. We will help you pursue the medical care you need for your condition.

Civil Cases Requiring a Maritime Attorney

In addition to federal maritime and admiralty legal cases, the following are just a few instances where the victim may also choose to mount a civil suit against the responsible party, with representation by an admiralty attorney:

  • Workplace accidents
  • Subpar medical care
  • Cruise Accidents, Injuries and Wrongful Death
  • Boating Accidents, Injuries and Wrongful Death
  • Rape, assault, battery, and sexual assault that occur at sea
  • Shore excursion accidents

If any of these incidents, and many others not mentioned above, take place aboard a cruise ship, boat, vessel, ferry, yacht, on a rig, in port or offshore whatsoever—the victim may be entitled to file a civil suit against the responsible party. Learn more about our firm’s experience representing victims in civil trials and call us today at 877-233-1238 to learn more about your options.


The Legal Breadth of Maritime and Admiralty Law

What Constitutes Maritime and Admiralty Law?

At one time, the terms “admiralty law” and “maritime law” had two different meanings. “Admiralty” once referred to the judicial court in England and the early American colonies that handled legal matters related to shipping. Maritime law later emerged to handle cases related to sea travel and commerce. Eventually, the two discrete but closely related practices merged, and similarly the terms merged into one legal discipline.

Unlike some areas of the law that are codified in the federal and state statutes, admiralty and maritime law in the U.S. can fall under the jurisdiction of federal law, state law, international treaties with single or multiple nations, and the common law, or that derived from court case rulings. In addition, state laws can also have an impact on a maritime law case.

Interestingly, when it comes to maritime law, the same case may be argued in a Florida court, a U.S. court, and the court of another state, depending on the circumstances of the case. As a result of the application of both domestic and foreign laws in maritime cases, there are often gaps in maritime and admiralty law that require courts to apply laws from various jurisdictions to arrive at a reasonable conclusion to a given dispute.


Legislation

The Jones Act

The Jones Act protects seamen on navigable waters who become injured as a result of their employer’s negligence while they are in the service of a vessel – regardless of whether the injury occurs aboard the vessel or on land. This act requires employers to provide a safe work environment for seamen.

The attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. specialize in Jones Act cases, having published books on the subject and appearing regularly as subject matter experts on national news broadcasts and television programs. Call us at 877-233-1238 if you believe you may be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act—we will work hard to reveal the facts of your case and recover the maximum compensation for your pain and suffering.

Who is considered a “seaman” under the Jones Act?

A “seaman” is defined as a person who works on a ship or vessel such as a cruise ship, towboat, crew boat, fishing boat, offshore oil rig or dredge. If you have been injured and would like to discuss whether the Jones Act applies to your circumstances, contact our firm to determine whether or not you qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act.

The Jones Act vs The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

The Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or the LHWCA provide compensation for work-related injuries sustained by separate categories of maritime workers. The Jones Act covers a “master or member of a crew of any vessel,” whereas the LHWCA covers the essential maritime workers that work in piers, ports, terminals and docks and otherwise sea-related roles without being part of a vessel’s permanent crew. The distinction is important as is employing an attorney versed in carrying forth complaints for both categories of workers.

Death on the High Seas Act

The Death on the High Seas Act protects the families of individuals whose death at sea occurred as the result of a wrongful act or under otherwise negligent circumstances. If you are mourning the loss of a loved one who died while at sea, reach out to us at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. Mourning the untimely death of a loved one is devastating. Let us help your family pursue compensation to lessen the burden you are shouldering.

The Law of Unseaworthiness

According to the Maryland Law Review, “a shipowner has an absolute duty to certain persons working upon his ship to furnish a seaworthy vessel, that is, a ship and its appurtenances be reasonably fit for their intended use. If the ship is unseaworthy, the shipowner is liable for personal injury caused by such unseaworthiness to persons to whom the ‘warranty’ extends.”

Essentially, an owner and/or operator of a ship is responsible to the crew for providing a vessel fit for sea travel. If an accident or injury should occur because of the shipowner’s negligence, the injured party is entitled to seek damages for his or her pain and suffering.

The success of these types of claims relies on the victim’s representation—specifically, their ability to prove that the vessel was unseaworthy. Only a law firm that focuses solely on admiralty law like Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is capable of compiling the evidence to support this type of claim to prove that the vessel was indeed unseaworthy at the time the incident occurred.


Maritime Personal Injury

Admiralty Jurisdiction

If an individual has sustained a maritime-related injury, meaning an injury at sea or an injury related to employment at sea, legal jurisdiction will be an important factor in the case. Put simply, jurisdiction dictates the right or authority of a court to apply and interpret the law as it relates to your case.

Not all courts have the authority to hear and decide on every type of case. When it comes to admiralty cases, federal district courts are given the power to hear such cases under the U.S. Constitution. Also, in certain situations, a state court is permitted to decide on an admiralty case. In cases where both the state and federal courts are authorized to handle the case, the jurisdiction would be referred to as “concurrent” jurisdiction, where the complainant may be able to decide which court they prefer to file in.

Generally, if a case stems from an incident that took place in U.S. navigable waters and involves either two vessels crashing, injury to a seaman, or injury to a passenger on a vessel, the case will likely be subject to admiralty jurisdiction. Moreover, cases in which a crime, such as a rape or sexual assault, was committed against an American citizen or a vessel on the high seas generally falls within admiralty jurisdiction.

When it comes to contracts, cases that involve agreements related to commerce, navigation or business of the sea—e.g., chartered vessels or cargo transport—are typically subject to admiralty jurisdiction as well.

The implications of admiralty jurisdiction are so that a maritime case is handled much differently than its onshore counterpart. For example, a slip and fall incident aboard a cruise ship defers to an entirely different set of laws governed by General Maritime Law, than a slip-and-fall accident would in a stateside drug store.

The convenience store incident would fall under the state law jurisdiction, where the offshore incident would fall under admiralty and maritime law. For this reason, it is important to consult with an offshore injury lawyer to ensure your case is handled appropriately.

Navigable Waters

According to the US Department of Transportation, “navigable waterways are those waters of the U.S. that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide shoreward to the mean high water mark, and that are presently used, have been used in the past, or may be susceptible to use for transport of interstate or foreign commerce.”

This concept is important when seeking to establish jurisdiction in the case of a maritime injury, accident, death or assault.


Maritime Lawyer FAQs

  • What should I do after an accident?
    • First and foremost you need to seek medical attention for your injuries. Be sure to maintain detailed documentation of all medical bills and expenses. Keep a record of any witnesses to the accident and document all the details of the incident before you forget as this could help to support your claims.
    • Report the incident and injury.
    • Contact a maritime and admiralty law firm as soon as possible following the accident.
    • Most importantly, if your employer or the responsible party asks you to give a statement or to sign any documentation, refrain from doing so until you have consulted with an admiralty attorney.
  • How much does a maritime attorney cost?
    • Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. offer consultations completely free of charge and our fees are a percentage of the money recovered for you. You never pay us a penny unless we make a successful financial recovery.
  • Where does my lawsuit have to be filed?
    • For cruise ship passengers, the vast majority of cases have to be filed in Federal Court in Miami, Florida. This is required by the terms of the passenger ticket contract. This is called a forum selection clause and Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) all require all passenger cases to be filed in Miami, Florida, within one year of the date of injury. Some cruise lines such as Princess Cruises require cases to be filed in California and Holland America Line in Washington State. Fortunately, at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, we have attorneys licensed in California and Washington State, so we can help!
    • For crew members, this is typically determined by the contract of employment and/or CBA (collective bargaining agreement). Having said that, because all of the major cruise lines (Carnival, RCCL, NCL) are headquartered in Miami, we are able to successfully files cases against all of the major cruise lines in Miami.
  • When should I contact a maritime lawyer for a cruise ship injury?
    • The statute of limitations for maritime law injury cases is generally three years from the date of the injury. However, for cruise line passenger cases, the statute of limitations is limited by the embarkment date on the cruise line ticket, up through one year following the date the injury took place. If you delay beyond the filing deadline, your claim is barred forever. It is best to confer with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are able to take action on your case.
  • Can I contact a maritime attorney from overseas following an offshore incident?
    • Yes, even if you are injured within international waters and no matter where you are in the world you can and should contact the maritime injury lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A.
  • As an injured cruise ship passenger, what kind of compensation can I receive?
    • Every case is different, but injured passengers may be eligible to receive compensation for present and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, and lost wages.

About Our Attorneys

The maritime and admiralty attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have been dedicated to helping victims of maritime accidents, injuries, assaults and wrongful death for nearly 50 years. Read on to learn more about our firm’s four named partners:

  • Charles Lipcon, founder of Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. provides personalized representation to complex maritime law and injury clients, backed by nearly 50 years of experience. A National Merit Scholar, Mr. Lipcon has been AV rated for 26 consecutive years.
  • Jason R. Margulies is a veteran admiralty attorney and University of Miami alumnus with over 20 years of experience. Mr. Margulies has received impeccable ratings, including an AV Preeminent 5 out of 5 rating and a 10 out of 10 rating from Avvo.
  • Ricardo V. Alsina is a University of Miami alumnus with a Martindale-Hubbell rating of AV—the highest rating in the industry for legal ability and compliance with rules of professional ethics.
  • Michael A. Winkleman is an established trial lawyer with numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts. Mr. Winkleman is an authoritative resource on maritime law for major news programming, including the Today Show, Inside Edition, 20/20, Fox & Friends and many more…

In addition to the firm’s four named partners, the attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman include 12 attorneys each specializing in maritime law and admitted to practice in courts all over the country.


Contact Us Now

If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, sustained an injury or were assaulted while at sea or in port, or you are grieving the wrongful death of a loved one that occurred aboard a cruise ship or while at sea—reach out to us. We can help.

We are headquartered in Miami, Florida, a major hub for vessels and cruise ships from all over the world. In addition to handling proceedings in Florida, our attorneys regularly litigate across the United States and represent clients all over the world.

Not only does Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. focus specifically on Admiralty and Maritime Law, we are nationally recognized by the highest maritime law organizations and media outlets for our contributions to maritime law and prolific history of successful outcomes in the courtroom, board room, and negotiation table.

Contact us now and let us advise you on how to best proceed with your maritime claim.