Maritime Workers Rights – Joe Cracchiolo’s Story

By any measure, the maritime industry is without a doubt one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Workers in this industry are exposed to virtually every kind of safety risk there is.

Ships on the open ocean are obviously subject to the elements, and those who support the industry from onshore have their own safety issues to be concerned with too. Virtually any safety issue you can think of is at play in the maritime industry, but here’s some of the most common:

Defective Ship Products
Adequate Safety Training
Toxic Chemicals
Sinking Vessels

So…. How Are Safety Issues Regulated?

The maritime industry is, of course, subject to the rules and regulations of the Occupational Safety and Hazard Association commonly known as OSHA. But other laws further regulate safety in this industry. The Jones act exists to protect workers who earn their livelihood on seagoing vessels. There is also the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This law is in place to protect the rights of maritime workers who support the industry from onshore.

Because both of these laws are in place, maritime workers are entitled to seek compensation when they are injured in accidents during the course of their duties. For seamen, sailors and ship workers who spend more than 51 percent of their time on a vessel in navigable waters, the Jones Act is legislation that made “Maritime law” a federal obligation.

The Jones Act deals with injuries and illnesses that occur out on the water. It means that if you were injured or became ill while on the water, you are entitled to recovery – no matter who is at fault. You do not have to prove guilt or unseaworthiness.

Under the Jones Act, a worker who was injured or became ill during the service of an ocean-going vessel is entitled to the rights granted under Maritime Law including maintenance, cure and unearned wages.

Benefits under the Jones act and Maritime Law allow for basic remedies but additional benefits may be awarded if it can be proven that an employer or ship owner was negligent or that another crew member was at fault.

In this Insider Exclusive ‘Justice in America’ Network TV Special, our News team “Goes on Location” in “MARITIME WORKER RIGHTS – Joe Cracchiolo’s Story” to examine how Joseph Orlando, Joseph Orlando Jr, and Amanda Orlando @ at Orlando & Associates successfully won a major verdict for Joe’s family. They will explain the Protections workers are entitled to working on these dangerous vessels under maritime law.

Maritime law recognizes those who work on the water, such as seamen, dredge workers, captains and crew members frequently work in dangerous conditions. Depending on how a seaman was injured, general maritime law, the Jones Act, and unseaworthiness dictate his/her entitlement to compensation. Each of these particular maritime claims has unique and specific requirements in order to obtain compensation from ship owners and operators

Joe Cracchiolo was a well-respected, longtime, experienced Gloucester fisherman and engineer, who one night slipped on an icy ramp, falling some 20 feet to his death, in the icy waters of New Bedford Harbor, while attempting to return to board the commercial vessel, the Sunlight, on which he was working. This surveillance video showed that he tried to pull himself up onto the platform, but it was too icy. His death was the 5th over 2 years in the Gloucester fishing community.

Under maritime law, a vessel owner has an absolute, non-delegable duty to provide safe and reasonable ingress and egress from a vessel. His employer knew, or should have known, that it was placing its crewmembers in grave jeopardy by not providing them relatively safe access to the vessel, along the customary route along the north side of the building.

Carla Cracchiolo, Joe’s widow, filed suit for wrongful death based on a negligence theory against the operator of the dock, Eastern Fisheries Inc., and RCP Realty, the owner of the property. And against the owners of the boat Joe worked on, O’Hara Corporation, under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. Sec 30104.

Carla’s legal team Joe Orlando and his son, Joe Jr, and Brian McCormick fought a hard-won battle to get justice for the Cracchiolo family against a Federal Judge Douglas Woodlock, whose decisions were overruled by the 1st circuit court of appeals, and resulted a substantial settlement before the jury rendered their verdict. All toll the entire settlements were for $1.35 Million for the Cracchiolo family.

Joe, and Joe Jr, have earned the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike…. as some of the best Trial lawyers in in Massachusetts. They’ve built a substantial reputation nationwide by consistently winning cases other law firms have turned down. And their amazing courtroom skills and headline grabbing success rate continue to provide their clients with the results they need……And the results they deserve.

You can contact Orlando & Associates @ (978) 283-8100