Many residents of Rhode Island and Massachusetts earn their living by working on the open seas. These seamen face dangerous conditions every day and injuries are common while at sea. It is important for seamen to be aware that they may be entitled to recover for their injuries under the Jones Act. This federal statute states that “any seaman who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right of trial by jury” (i).

Boats docked near the shoreInjuries at sea are often caused by falling objects, falling overboard, and damaged or defective ship equipment. According to a July 25, 2013 story by the East Hampton Patch, a local fisherman named John Aldridge survived more than 12 hours in the Atlantic Ocean after a cooler handle snapped and sent him stumbling overboard. Aldridge stayed afloat by cutting the buoys from two lobster traps. His fishing partner Anthony Sosinski noticed he was gone and quickly got in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard. Sosinski organized a 12-boat search and rescue team, which eventually found Aldridge 38 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. The two men had been friends since the Second Grade and Sosinski said that “I wasn’t coming home without him” (ii).

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira stated, “The fishing and shipping industries are both very dangerous and physical jobs. Seamen rely on their physical health in order to earn a living so any injury can have serious consequences on their financial stability. Under the Jones Act injured seaman may be able to receive compensation for their hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other losses.”

The maritime and admiralty infographic provides information about the legal rights of seaman under maritime and admiralty law. d’Oliveira & Associates has been handling injury and disability lawsuits in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for more than 25 years. The law firm also works with some of the more experienced maritime and admiralty lawyers, who do not charge legal fees until they are successful in obtaining a settlement or award. To contact the law firm call 1-800-992-6878 or submit an online contact form.


  • (i) Cornell University Law School, 46 U.S.C. 18 § 688.—-000-.html
  • (ii) East Hamptom Patch, July 25, 2013.