When seeking to recover financial compensation for injuries sustained in a tugboat accident, one potential source of recovery is the tugboat’s owner. Tugboat owners have a legal obligation to maintain safe working conditions on their vessels, and when they fail to do so, maritime law states that they can be held accountable for any losses crewmembers and other workers onboard face as a result of their injuries. This is what is known as the doctrine of “unseaworthiness.” Examples of Unseaworthy Conditions on Tugboats In broad terms, any condition onboard a tugboat that increases workers’ risk of injury has the potential to qualify as an “unseaworthy” condition. For example, the following are all common dangers that can justify claims for compensation against tugboat owners: Equipment that is worn out or in need of repair Improperly-designed fixtures or equipment Loose steps or railings Missing rails or safety equipment Unprotected openings Unsafe lines, tools and machinery Trip hazards on deck Oily or icy conditions on deck Improper lighting Walking surfaces that lack anti-skid protection However, these types of issues are not the only issues that can render a tugboat unseaworthy. The following are examples of unseaworthy conditions as well: Excessive work hours – Forcing the tugboat’s captain or crewmembers to work excessively-long hours can be a form of unseaworthiness. Inadequate access to safety equipment – Tugboat owners must supply those onboard with appropriate safety equipment, such as personal floatation devices, fire extinguishers and first aid kits. Missing warning signs – Failure to post […]
The Jones Act is a federal law that governs the liability of vessel operators and marine employers for work-related injuries or the death of an employee.