Jones Act & Maritime Lawyer

Our Norfolk based Virginia Jones Act and Maritime Injury Lawyers have represented maritime workers who have been injured in the course of their employment, as well as those injured in recreational boating accidents. Attorney Richard Serpe is experienced with cases under the Jones Act and the general maritime law and takes pride in helping those who were injured on our waterways due to no fault of their own. If you or a loved one have been injured while working or vacationing on a seagoing vessel, contact us for a free case review 877-544-5323.

Richard Serpe: An Attorney Who Understands Maritime Law

The best personal injury attorney who devotes his or her practice to injuries occurring on land will be familiar with state law concepts that these cases involve.  Maritime matters, on the other hand, are governed by federal law, and you need an attorney who understands these laws.

  • Master of Laws in Maritime: After law school, Richard Serpe obtained a Master of Laws in Admiralty law from Tulane University School of Law.
  • Proctor of Admiralty: He has obtained the highest ranking (Proctor) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States.
  • Jones Act Case Success: He has successfully prosecuted cases under the Jones Act, bringing fair and just compensation to those who were injured while performing their duties.
  • Protecting Injured Seamen: Richard Serpe has years of experience in protecting the rights of injured seamen; He knows how the insurers of commercial vessels will do everything they can to minimize their financial liability, even if it is at the expense of decent treatment for the injured.
  • Recreational Maritime Cases: Richard Serpe has successfully settled cases for recreational maritime accidents (cruise ship, sailboat, jet-ski, etc.) that resulted in serious injury and the death of a loved one.



Maritime Injuries on the Job

Anyone who has spent time earning a living on the ocean can tell you that it’s a dangerous business. The sheer unpredictability of the ocean can put even the most experienced of sailors or the strongest of ships at risk. These conditions demand competence and professionalism from all of the crew members of any seagoing vessel, whether it’s a cruise shipfishing boattugboatbarge, etc. Anything less places lives at risk. While it is true that working on our oceans is inherently dangerous, that fact does not absolve the shipowner, captain or crew members from responsibility should one of their employees or fellow workers suffer an injury.

Sailors on sailboats and powerboats, jet ski operators, cruise ship passengers…

If a non-seafarer (this might include a cruise ship passenger, the rider of a jet ski, or an airplane passenger involved in a crash away from the land) is injured or killed, then the laws depend on where the accident occurred. Special regulations and rules, including Coast Guard regulations and the Limitation of Liability Act, can have an important impact on a victim’s potential financial recovery. For example, many cruise line tickets contain various disclaimers that may limit a passenger’s right to sue. Maritime cases present very unique laws and issues which are best handled by an experienced maritime lawyer.

Wrongful Death

When death occurs on the high seas or on the navigable waters of the United States, the legal issues that can be implicated are numerous.

The applicable laws, who can file a claim, and the remedies available can vary tremendously, depending on whether the person killed was a seaman, a longshoreman, or a non-seafarer; what caused the accident; who is being sued; and precisely where the accident occurred.  The general rules can be summarized, but this area of the maritime law is so complex and, at times, volatile, that small factual differences can make a big legal difference.

Is my boat covered under my homeowner’s insurance?

In most cases the answer is no, but many people incorrectly believe the answer is the opposite. Some home insurance policies may cover a small boat on property, but in general most large items that have a specific kind of insurance (boat insurance, for example) can only be covered by that type of insurance.

While boat insurance is optional in 48 states (Arkansas and Utah being the exceptions), it is a wise decision to insure your boat. Often boats need to be insured in order to be used as collateral for loans. Many marinas and harbors also require boats docked there to be insured. Boat insurance can be customizable too, offering you the perfect coverage for your situation. Categories of coverage include:

  • Liability: This insurance covers you in the event that you are at fault in an accident. Liability insurance can cover damage to property or injury to another person     due to the negligence of the operator of your boat (be it the owner or another user).
  • Uninsured Coverage: If you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured boater, this type of insurance can help you cover the cost of any injuries or property damage caused to you by the uninsured vessel.
  • Boat Coverage: This type of boat insurance helps with boat repairs, which can often be extremely costly. Boat coverage can cover repairs due to collisions and non-collision accidents (fires, storms, etc.), and can even cover assistances such as towing.
  • Medical Coverage: Medical bills can be extremely expensive, and so this type of insurance helps with the cost of treatment for any injuries you may incur in a boating accident.

There are other types of coverages offered by boat insurance companies, but the ones listed above are the main categories. Purchasing boat insurance can save you time, money, and the headache of figuring out what to do when you’ve been in an accident. With the warm weather beginning, you want to ensure that your boat remains running safely and smoothly throughout the summer months. Research what type of coverage would be best for you, and seriously consider purchasing an insurance policy for your boat.

Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers

At our law firm, we are dedicated to helping those injured due to the negligence of another, especially those hurt in a maritime or boat related accident. If you’ve been injured on the water, do not hesitate to contact us for expert legal advice and care.

What types of injuries commonly occur while on a cruise ship?

Though often seen as a floating playground for kids and adults alike, cruise ships are inherently dangerous. Anyone on board these vessels risks injuries and illness simply because of the nature of the industry. When handling thousands of passengers at a time, cruise ship employees are bound to get careless.

Food poisoning is perhaps the most notorious health risk associated with cruise ships. Because of the insular nature of the cruise ship ecosystem, disease is quick to spread and hard to prevent. The most common cause of food poisoning on cruise ships is the norovirus, a stomach virus that spreads via contaminated food or water. Highly contagious, a norovirus outbreak can also be spread through physical contact with people and surfaces.

Slips and falls are also common on cruise ships. Given how much alcohol is consumed on wet, slick surfaces near pools and hot tubs, it is no wonder so many cruise ship passengers find themselves injured in a slip and fall accident. While accidents can happen anywhere, when a cruise ship employees knows of a potential hazard and fails to warn passengers, the company can be held liable for the damage done.

Injuries caused by slips and falls, food poisoning, outbreaks of viruses, fires, and assaults can, and often do, occur while on board a cruise ship. Richard Serpe has handled many personal injury cases and specifically personal injury/maritime cases. His experience in litigating these types of claims makes him the choice should you need a lawyer to help you wade through the facts surrounding the injury and to help you make a decision on if and how to proceed. You can contact him by completing the inquiry form on this website.

Can a passenger sue a cruise line for injuries?

The answer depends on the particular circumstances surrounding the injury. When a person purchases a ticket he has essentially signed a contract stating that while on board he will follow certain rules and regulations set by the cruise line. Many cruise line tickets contain various disclaimers that may limit a passenger’s right to sue. Also, it may place certain requirements on the passenger such as advance notification of suit or requiring that any suit be filed in a certain location (like the city out of which the ship sailed or the city in which the corporate headquarters of the cruise line is located). It may be in your best interest to contact a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Richard Serpe received his Masters Degree from Tulane University in Maritime Law and is well qualified and has a vast amount of experience in just such types of claims. Contact Mr. Serpe for a free no obligation consultation toll free 877-544-5323.

We help people like you every day
Richard Serpe, and his staff did a thorough investigation into the dog owner
My 7-year-old daughter was outside playing with friends in front of our home when she was viciously attacked by our neighbor’s Rottweiler. The Rottweiler dug a hole under the fence,
- Shaniqua J., Winchester, VA
Richard Serpe was able to get an excellent recovery for my daughter
When my daughter suffered an injury from lead poisoning, I did not know where to turn. There did not seem to be many lawyers who could help. The landlord responsible
- Angela Woodson, Richmond, VA
Thank you Richard Serpe and your firm
This firm has been beside us through the whole process from when we first found out that our home had been built with Chinese drywall until justice was served. They
- Elizabeth C., Virginia Beach, VA
The people who work for him were always great to work with
Richard Serpe handled the case for my daughter for injuries she received over 10 years ago. The people who work for him were always great to work with! They responded
- Mikhal Taylor, Richmond Virginia
Such a wonderful group of people to have by your side
Such a wonderful group of people to have by your side! Genuinely cares and wants to help you and your family 🙂
- Allena A., Eastern Shore of VA
Richard acted as my advocate, my friend, my partner and my champion
Within seconds of meeting with Richard Serpe, he identified a number of potential mistakes I was making – many of which could have been quite costly. Throughout the entire process,
- Melissa Baumann, Norfolk, VA
I endorse this lawyer
I endorse this lawyer. Richard is an extremely intelligent person and a very kind man. Not only is Richard a top-notch attorney, but he also is very compassionate one. You
- Art Serratelli, Virginia Beach Immigration Lawyer
I would recommend Richard Serpe
After a major maritime accident on the water, I was scared and didn’t know where to turn. The Law Offices of Richard Serpe and his great staff treated me with
- Eddie Stodghill, Richmond, VA
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