Jones Act & Maritime Lawyer

Justice For Those Injured at Sea

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.

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Do I Qualify Under the Jones Act?

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is an important federal maritime law that protects workers who are inured or become ill at sea by allowing them to recover compensation from their employer.

  • To qualify for such protections, a maritime worker must fall under the Jones Act definition of a “seaman.” U.S. courts have generally interpreted “seamen” to mean anyone performing work related to a vessel’s purpose and on a vessel that operates in navigable waters, meaning waters capable of being used for commerce.
  • The employee must also spend a “significant” amount of their time on the vessel. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis by taking into account the particular circumstances of employment, but often means at least 30% of their time.
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.

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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,
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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
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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
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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
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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 🙂
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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,
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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
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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
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