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Lawsuit Alleging Ship Captain Died Of COVID, Settles


COVID lawsuits filed against ships is not necessarily news anymore, but the fact that the majority of these lawsuits have failed to result in positive outcomes for plaintiffs is telling. Right now, most state governments have enacted legislation that prevents businesses from being sued over COVID-19 infections. These rules, however, do not apply to ships at sea. In one case, a widow filed a lawsuit against her husband’s employer and was able to secure a settlement.

The lawsuit appears to be the first of its kind.

Understanding the claims made in the lawsuit 

The victim was a ship’s captain who worked aboard a vessel during the early stages of the pandemic. Among the allegations leveled against the captain’s employer were that they negligently exposed the captain to COVID-positive workers. In other words, they had no standard for quarantining people with symptoms of the infections or for sending them home.

By the time this incident occurred, the state was already being shut down to prepare for the ongoing pandemic. So, the employer was or should have been aware of the danger caused by exposure to an infected person.

The Jones Act requires that all employers who operate vessels ensure a safe workplace environment. In this case, they allowed one of their employees to be exposed to an obviously-infected worker.

Right now, for seamen, there is no real way to know how these lawsuits will play out, whether the CDC recommendation standard is useful in establishing that the employer took appropriate steps to provide a safe work environment, is one piece of the puzzle.

Talk to a Miami Maritime Attorney Today 

If you are a seaman and your employer has negligently exposed you to a dangerous condition, you may be able to recover damages related to your injuries. Call Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford today to schedule a free consultation and we can discuss your options immediately.



  • American Association for Justice
  • Florida Justice Association
  • Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
  • American Association for Justice

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Contact the Law Offices of Michael F. Guilford, P.A. for a free initial consultation with Michael Guilford. Flexible appointment times are available. If you can't come to us, we will come to you. Call toll free 866-473-2636 or describe your injuries in an email.

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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

Courthouse Tower, Suite 750
44 West Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Toll Free: 866-473-2636
Phone: 305-539-1999
Fax: 305-539-1998