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Advice Please
Posted: Saturday, November 21, 2009 9:44 PM
Joined: 27/06/2009
Posts: 2

I have a friend who went on a interview for a job after the interview the captain said he was hired and could move on board in two days. He was then asked to help with the boat wash down the same day. During the wash down my friend slipped and landed on his hand. Two of his fingers were very swollen and one was bleading. The captain said your finders will be just fine. Two days later my friend moved on board, his two fingers didn't look good at all, he met the owners of the boat, they noticed his fingers and asked what happend??, my friend replied and told them the truth. After 5 days the captain said the owners had a change of plans and my frind was not needed. My friend decided to have his fingers looked at by his Doctor. After xrays, my friend has two broken fingers and may require addirional surgery since they were not re set right after the injuy. My friend telephoned the captain and told him of his fingers being broke and may require surgery. The captain never offered any help but just to say Iam sorry. My frind now has limited use of his hand with fingers being in a cast and will most likely require surgery. What can he do legally and what should the boat be required to do. Thanks
Posted: Saturday, November 21, 2009 10:12 PM
Joined: 19/05/2008
Posts: 52

Hi Flashman. Thanks for your post. I’m sorry to say that it looks as if your friend was naive enough to allow himself to be employed without a contract. Is that correct? If so, the incident will be subject the law and courts either of the yacht or the place where the incident took place. So he may be looking at legal expenses far in excess of the compensation that might be payable. The yacht’s third party or employer’s liability insurer may be willing to pay something, but he would need to know who that insurer was. If the captain is unwilling to tell him, the marina office may know, or he may be able to ask a port official to demand to see the compulsory third party insurance certificate. The marina office may also know. The insurer may still decide that, on the facts, your friend brought the accident on himself, and/or they may just decide not to pay as, without a contract of employment, there’d be just too much to argue about to make it worthwhile for your friend to really do anything about it. Moreover, without a contract it may be prohibitively expensive to find out what your friends’ rights are with regard to any possible claim for unfair dismissal.
Posted: Saturday, November 21, 2009 11:37 PM
Dear this is slightly of the topic, but does a valid pay slip and tax record negate the need for a contract, when working for an American company that owns a foreign flagged yacht.
Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009 6:04 AM
Joined: 19/05/2008
Posts: 52

Thanks Anonymous. No one should ever - EVER - work without an employment contract in place. A payslip may show that you were employed by someone, but not necessarily where, and certainly not on what terms you were employed.
Manny Valdes
Posted: Friday, December 11, 2009 9:20 PM
Joined: 09/10/2009
Posts: 4

Flashman, I will need more information on your friends case in order to provide you with legal advice. Does the vessel berth in the US? If so where? Where was the vessel when your friend was injured? Was he "hired" in the USA or somewhere else? What flag does the vessel fly? These are just some of the questions that are important in determining whether your injured friend is entitled to compensation under the Jones Act. This act protects crew members and provides indemnity benefits for the negligence of a vessel owner or operator or if the vessel was unseaworthy, if the vessel touches US ports or if the base of operations of the vessel owner is in the USA or if the crew member received medical care in the USA. You can email me your answers to the questions above at MV@CJCLAW.NET or if you like, you can call me at 786-594-0180. I am in Miami, Florida, USA. Good luck, Manny Valdes, attorney.
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