Michael D. Eriksen, the principal attorney of the Eriksen Law Firm of West Palm Beach, Florida, is one (1) of only three (3) active plaintiffs’ trial lawyers in the State of Florida (out of several thousand personal injury lawyers) who are Board Certified by the Florida Bar in both Civil Trial Law and Admiralty and Maritime Law.
Over the last thirty years, Mr. Eriksen has tried over 160 cases to juries (and has successfully settled hundreds more), many of which have involved maritime or travel-related personal injuries and deaths occurring in the U.S. or in foreign countries or on their navigable waters.
Mr. Eriksen has helped shape maritime law regarding rape and sexual assault, and alcohol-facilitated injuries and deaths, occurring during foreign cruises, shore excursions and resort stays (including personal jurisdiction, choice of law, and forum).
Many of these cases involve federal law. For example, The 1920 Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) generally governs fatal injuries occurring on ”the high seas” and restricts survivors to economic damages (i.e., no pain and suffering). The 1920 Jones Act covers seamen who are killed or injured due to their employer’s negligence.
Such cases against individuals and corporations (as opposed to vessels) may be pursued in state or federal court (unless a contract such as a cruise ticket specifies otherwise). Suits against vessels may only be pursued in federal court.
Cases involving maritime and/or foreign injuries or deaths are generally subject to their own unique time limits, which may differ from the statutes of limitations of various U.S. states. For example, there is a federal three (3) year statute of limitations that generally applies to maritime death and injury claims. However, federal law also allows marine passenger carriers, such as cruise lines, to shorten that period considerably in their tickets, by requiring written notice of a claim within six (6) months post-injury(or death), with lawsuits to be filed within one (1) year after the death or injury.
Having the legal knowledge and skill necessary to win a major plaintiff’s case involving these issues requires more than a law degree and a knack for advertising and self-promotion. Instead, it comes only from years of experience handling actual cases and trials, getting to know the repeat defendants and how they operate, and becoming immersed the relevant law in the process.
A rational way to verify the skill of a plaintiff’s attorney is to identify, contact, and ask lawyers who frequently oppose him or her (as opposed to relying on an advertisement or website). Mr. Eriksen is happy to provide such references upon request.