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Millions Recovered

  • $5,400,000.00 settlement involving a seaman who fell from a stairway during fire and boat drill aboard a container ship sustaining quadriplegic injuries. Partners Mellusi and Shisha personally inspected the vessel taking hundreds of measurements and still and videos of every stairway in the ship’s main deck house. The data was compared with the vessel’s design plans in our library which demonstrated the vessel had been negligently constructed in that it failed to follow the naval architect’s original design specifications.
  • $4,400,000.00 jury award to a former shipmate who sustained a shoulder injury while at sea. The third mate had to undergo multiple surgeries and will not be able to become a captain because of the injury.
  • $2,400,000 jury award to a licensed marine engineer who sustained permanent knee injuries while attempting to remove a 200 lb. valve from an overhead piping system. Partner Mellusi personally inspected the ship’s engine room taking detailed photos and measurements. A duplicate valve was obtained from a maritime junkyard and was brought into court along with an auto-shop mechanical hoist capable of lifting it 12 feet to demonstrate the vessel lacked suitable means to perform this work safely. The jury award was in top ten verdicts in the United States for a comparable knee injury. The case was tried to verdict in a New York Federal Court.
  • $2,980,000.00 jury award to a ship’s cook for back injury resulting from insufficient procedures for moving ship stores. Case tried in New York federal court.
  • $2,700,000.00 settlement to a mate on a Tanker vessel who sustained multiple fractures.
  • $2,000,000.00 was awarded to a barge deckhand – wrongful death.
  • $1,827,000 awarded to a marine engineer working on a US Government supply vessel who fell into an unguarded ventilation fan causing neck, shoulder and hand injuries. The case was tried non-jury before a federal judge in Baltimore Federal Court. The court award was subsequently determined to be within the highest ten verdicts for the State of Maryland in 2009.
  • $1,200,000.00 jury award to a ship’s Bosun who sustained shoulder and neck injuries while attempting to move plywood sheets on main deck of vessel during 40 knot winds. Case tried in New York Federal Court.
  • $950,000 awarded to passenger killed when his recreational boat came into collision with tow wire of tug and barge
  • $850,000 settlement, Federal Court Allentown PA., to seaman sustained herniated disk while lifting a 110 lbs crane hooks.
  • $840,000 jury award to a seaman who fell from ladder while painting sustaining fractured wrist.
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What is the Death on the High Seas Act?

At Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP, we know that ship environments can be dangerous even in the best weather conditions. If you have lost a loved one as the result of an accident on a ship, then you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the responsible party under the Death on the High Seas Act. According to Cornell University Law School’s Public Information Institute, the act is in effect if the fatal accident happened at sea and the distance from the accident to a U.S. shore was more than three nautical miles.

The degree of negligence or fault on the part of your loved one is compared to the amount of fault of the shipping company or person who was involved in the accident. For example, if your loved one was violating a safety rule and it is decided that the violation was 20 percent responsible for the death, then you would be awarded 20 percent less money. However, if the blame was entirely on the shipping company or owner, then you would receive 100 percent of the amount that the court awards you.

If your loved one was on a U.S.-owned ship and was killed due to a foreign cause of action, like a pirate attack or collision with a non-American boat, the act still allows you to seek compensation for the death. This is regardless of whether your loved one’s death was due to a default, an act of neglect or a deliberate action. Furthermore, your rights are still in effect even if the “cause of action exists under the law of a foreign country.”

To be eligible to file a civil suit on behalf of your loved one, you must provide proof that you are a financially dependent family member. The act may apply if your loved one was your uncle and he was financially taking care of you as your legal guardian. Additionally, you are also able to file if you are the parent of the deceased, a child or a spouse. For more information about deaths and injuries on ships, please visit our web page.

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Rated By Superlawyer Ralph J Mellusi Rated By Superlawyer Ralph J Mellusi
Rated By Superlawyer Ralph J Mellusi Rated By Superlawyer Ralph J Mellusi
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