Miami Maritime Lawyer

By:   Michael A. Winkleman

America’s Leading Maritime Lawyers Handling Accidents, Injuries and Assaults 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 Miami-based attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. are some of the most seasoned lawyers in the world and they can 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. From Miami, 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 Miami maritime and admiralty law 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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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.
  • 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.
  • Appeared on hundreds of nationally televised programs as the expert authority on admiralty and maritime law.

Our Attorney TV Appearances Covering Admiralty & Maritime Cases

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Work With the Team That Sets Precedents in Maritime Law

Our firm of Miami maritime lawyers is constantly pushing boundaries by representing — and winning — landmark cases that set precedent for all cases going forward. This cutting-edge understanding of maritime law is one only one of the reasons why hiring Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. for your Miami maritime law case is an easy decision to make.

Our impressive list of landmark cases includes the following:

  1. Appellate Opinion in K.T. vs Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD

    This is a landmark decision that will require every cruise line to warn passengers about the risk of rapes and sexual assaults on their vessels. LMAW obtains landmark Appellate Court decision in a case where a teenage girl was raped while aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise ship

    Read More +
  2. First Class Action in Admiralty Allowed

    HERNANDEZ v. The MOTOR VESSEL SKYWARD 61 F.R.D. 558 (S.D. Fla. 1973)


    PROCEDURAL POSTURE: In an action for breach of contract, negligence, and breach of implied warranty of fitness arising out of a pleasure cruise during which the passengers and the crew were exposed to contaminated food

    Read More +
  3. Error in Medical Negligence Case to not Allow Interrogatories Regarding Textbooks Regarded as Authoritative by Defendant Physician

    BUGA v. WIENER, M.D. 277 So. 2d 296; (Fla. App. 4th 1973)


    PROCEDURAL POSTURE: The plaintiffs, patient, and her husband sought review of a decision from the Circuit Court, Broward County (Florida), which, based upon a jury verdict, entered judgment in favor of defendant physician on plaintiffs’ medical malpractice complaint

    Read More +

View More Landmark Cases

About Our Maritime Lawyers

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, all of who have been named to Best Lawyers in America ®, 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.

Types of Maritime Cases We Handle

miami maritime lawyerFrom our headquarters in Miami, Florida, we represent victims of all types of offshore accidents and injuries around the world. Generally, our clients fall into one of the categories below.

Note that not all cases are black and white. Whether or not you fit into any of the categories below, 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.

Cruise Ship Passengers and Crew

Victims of Cruise Ship Rape and Sexual Assault

Maritime Workers

Boat, Yacht, and Ferry Passengers and Crew

Jet Ski, Waverunner, and Personal Watercraft Operators and Passengers

Parasailers

Maritime Workers We Represent

Jones Act Seamen

A “seaman” under the Jones Act 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.

maritime attorney in miami

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.

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 U.S. Department of Labor, Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act 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 U.S. 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 which are 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.

Guide to Maritime and Admiralty Law

Maritime law, also referred to today as admiralty law, is the area of law concerned with the activity that takes place on navigable waters such as the Ocean.

miami maritime attorney

Injuries and incidents on cruise ships, cargo vessels, pleasure craft, jet skis, and other vessels are treated differently than other types of legal injury claims. A special body of laws, conventions, and treaties collectively called admiralty & maritime law — interchangeable terms in today’s language — establish legal rules applicable to civil litigation and insurance claims related to ships, shipping, and offshore work.

Maritime and admiralty law 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.

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.

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, as opposed to a slip-and-fall accident would defer to 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 U.S. 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 could 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.

Admiralty and Maritime Laws That Affect Your Case

The Jones Act

maritime lawyer miamiThe 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 Legal Information Institute (LLI) 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.”

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.

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 from 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.

Deaths that occur a certain distance away from or within a U.S. shoreline can be subject to a variety of laws. And believe it or not, the simple question of the location of the vessel is arguably the most critical component because of the implications regarding the law that applies to the claims.

Deaths That Occur Less Than Three Miles From a U.S. Shoreline

Individuals should be aware that general wrongful death laws will apply if a passenger or a sea worker is killed while he or she is still within three nautical miles of a state shoreline (or within U.S. territorial waters).

Additionally, if a crewmember or seaman who is within three nautical miles of a U.S. shoreline dies because of a ship owner’s or employer’s negligence, the Jones Act might also be applicable and such a claim can be filed right along with a general wrongful death claim.

Deaths That Occur More Than Three Miles From a U.S. Shoreline

Many attorneys are often faced with cases that involve deaths that took place more than three miles away from a U.S. shoreline. What spouses and family members should know about such deaths is that they are generally covered by the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). Generally, DOHSA will apply to all individuals who were killed in accidents that took place more than three miles out from a U.S. shoreline, no matter whether the individual was a maritime worker or not.

As a general rule, DOHSA is a nasty federal law that dramatically limits the recovery that can be made in a death claim. For example, the Act limits the amount of wrongful death damages that spouses, children, parents, and dependent relatives will be able to recover, and individuals should note that only “pecuniary” damages will be recoverable under this particular law. Pecuniary damages are those damages that can be quantified in terms of a dollar amount. That said, family members will not be able to recover damages for things like loss of companionship or consortium.

Having said that, an experienced attorney knows that there are ways to make a substantial recovery in a death claim, if done correctly.

Loved ones should also be aware that a lawsuit under the Act must be brought within three years from the date of the seaman’s death. Additionally, in cases involving the wrongful death of a crewmember, the decedent’s personal representative could choose to bring an action under either general maritime wrongful death laws or under DOHSA.

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.

Civil Cases Requiring a Miami 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.

Miami Maritime Lawyer FAQs

What should I do after an accident?

How much does a Miami maritime attorney cost?

Where does my lawsuit have to be filed?

When should I contact a Miami maritime lawyer for a cruise ship injury?

Can I contact a Miami maritime attorney from overseas following an offshore incident?

As an injured cruise ship passenger, what kind of compensation can I receive?

Questions to Ask Your Maritime Attorney

Anyone can have a website or advertise. Before hiring a maritime attorney, ask the following questions.

  1. Have you ever represented a shipping company as their maritime lawyer?
  2. Have you or any family members ever worked for a shipping company as an employee?
  3. As a maritime lawyer, how many cases have you handled while representing an injured seaman?
  4. As a cruise ship lawyer, how many cases have you handled while representing an injured passenger?
  5. As a maritime lawyer, have you tried a seaman’s or passenger’s case to a verdict?
  6. What is the amount of the highest verdict your client has received in a trial?
  7. Have you handled any landmark cases in the admiralty and maritime field?
  8. As a cruise ship lawyer, how many of your cases have gone on appeal?
  9. How many years of maritime lawyer experience do you have in the admiralty and maritime area representing injured seaman and passengers?
  10. Have you ever represented a seaman’s union?
  11. Have you written any books or articles dealing with admiralty or maritime claims?
  12. Have you ever lectured on admiralty or maritime law?
  13. What is your maritime lawyer rating with Martindale Hubbel?

Additionally, you can find out a lot about a maritime lawyer by searching the web using his or her name. Check newspaper stories online. You can also go to Lexis Nexis and see copies of all opinions in which an attorney is mentioned and read directly about the results of cases that the cruise accident lawyer has handled. West Law has the same type of database.

Contact Us to Discuss Your Maritime Case

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.



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