Frequently Asked Questions

The answers are general in nature and are not intended to apply to every maritime and admiralty situation. Each case is different and carries its own set of circumstances. By contacting Tabak, Mellusi & Shisha for a free consultation, you can receive a personal consultation regarding your specific maritime and admiralty claim.

What financial compensation can I recover in a Maritime and Admiralty claim?

Generally speaking the financial compensation in a maritime and admiralty claim is similar to a corresponding claim for a shore-based claim. For example, accident victims are entitled to recover monetary damages for all losses and expenses suffered from the accident. Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:

•Medical Bills
•Lost Wages, loss of earning potential including pension and fringes benefits
•Physical and Mental Pain & Suffering
•Physical Disability
•Emotional Trauma

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful Death Law provides financial compensation to the family of a person whose death was caused by the negligent, willful or wrongful act of another. When a wrongful death occurs aboard a watercraft, or vessel on navigable waters, the case is filed under the provisions of applicable Maritime and Admiralty law.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

The right to file a wrongful death claim requires a grant of authority from a Probate Court, appointing one as Administrator of an Estate. The Administrator may then file the claim on behalf of the surviving spouse, children and other persons who suffered pecuniary losses.

Pecuniary losses include the loss of support, loss of services, lost of the prospect of inheritance and funeral expenses. Punitive damages may also be awarded in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing to punish the wrongdoer and/or deter others from behaving similarly. Punitive damages are not recoverable in seaman's case filed under the Jones Act.

How do I know if I need a lawyer?

Because of the complexities of Admiralty and Maritime Law, virtually all situations involving bodily injury and death require a timely consult with experienced maritime counsel.

What is the time frame to file a suit under the Jones Act?

By statute a suit must be filed within three (3) years of the accident or incident causing injury. The only exception is for toxic tort claims such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, chemically induced respiratory illnesses etc. In such cases, the three-year period begins to run, not from the date of initial exposure, but from the date of discovery of the injury by the plaintiff or from the date when through the exercise of reasonable diligence such injury should have been discovered by the plaintiff, whichever is earlier. Thus, even if it takes decades after exposure to the chemical to discover the injury, a lawsuit could still be brought within three years after that discovery. The issue of when a plaintiff "should have known" is generally a question of fact, and the statute is construed liberally in a plaintiff's favor.

What is a Statute of Limitation and How does it Affect My Rights?

A Statute of Limitation is a deadline or "Bar" date to file suit which is set by Federal or State Law. Once the "Bar" date has passed, the right to file suit is "barred" i.e. lost forever, no matter how serious the injuries or how devastating the financial consequences of a death. The law does allow very limited excuses for the nonfiling which may allow the case to go forward which is another reason to contact experienced maritime counsel.

How are Attorney Fees determined?

There is never any charge for an initial consultation whether by phone or in person. If we determine your case is meritorious we will accept the case exclusively on a written contingent fee agreement. Our fee is a percentage of the sum recovered. The percentage is set by the law of the State where the claim is filed. In all cases however, if there is no recovery, we receive no fee.