Maritime Injury Lawyer – Third Party Lawsuits
If you have been working as a seaman for some time you have probably heard of the Jones Act and are likely to know of someone who has filed a claim with an employer to collect maintenance and cure benefits. You may not however be aware that injured maritime workers often have the right to sue parties other than their employers when they are injured on the job. When an injury or accident is caused by the actions or inactions of a party other than an employer, the injured maritime worker may have the right to file a third-party lawsuit under General Maritime Law. While lawsuits against third-party defendants can arise for a variety of reasons, they are often brought for ordinary negligence or when a defective piece of equipment or design causes a maritime worker to suffer a serious injury.
Injuries Caused by Defective Equipment or Machinery
When a worker is injured by an unsafe or defective product, this is known as a products liability case. In the maritime industry product liability claims can involve almost any type of equipment that is used on a maritime vessel or structure, including engine systems, cranes, forklifts, winches, cables, pulley systems, doors and latches and countless other tools and pieces of machinery.
An example of a third-party products liability case would be where a maritime worker on a jack-up rig or semi-submersible oil drilling rig suffers a severe head injury and paralysis when a heavy pack-off nut falls 35 feet onto the deck striking the worker. While the injured seaman may have a Jones Act case against his or her employer, the worker may also be able to file a separate third-party products liability lawsuit against both the manufacturer and distributor of the cable clamp if a defective clamp is to blame for the accident.
Additionally, the worker may be able to file a third-party claim against the maintenance and repair company responsible for overhauling and repairing the defective piece of equipment and possibly a third party case against the vessel owner, wireline operator, crane operator or other 3rd party defendant that was responsible. In situations like these, our firm would typically combine the claims and file a single lawsuit against all of the third-party defendants. In some cases, however, we may determine that the most favorable strategy would be to file the claims separately against each of the third-party defendants.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Maritime Attorney
If you have been injured in a maritime accident you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. In most situations there will be a number of different legal theories that can apply to your case and multiple parties who may be held legally liable for your injuries. The Willis Law Firm has more than 30 years of experience successfully handling complex maritime injury cases. We are a skilled and aggressive legal team that will carefully investigate your claim to identify all responsible parties. Fill out our online contact form or call us today at 1-800-468-4878 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a dedicated maritime injury and Jones Act attorney at our firm.