Working on a ship can be a very risky and dangerous occupation. Ship owners have an absolute duty to provide seaman with a seaworthy vessel and crew. Under general maritime laws, a “seaworthy” ship is suitable and fit for its intended use. This means the ship or vessel must be in proper working order and have the safe and adequate equipment the seaman needs to perform his or her particular duties.
In addition to the vessel itself, the ship owner also has duty to provide a competent crew. This not only means that the owner of the ship must employ a sufficient number of crew members; it also means the crew members must be safe, – trained and supervised.
The Ship Owner Has the Duty to Provide a Seaworthy Vessel
When the owner of a ship fails to provide a seaworthy vessel or crew and a seaman is injured, the owner can be held liable for damages. It is very important to understand that under the doctrine of unseaworthiness, the ship’s owner, and not your employer, is the party who has the duty to provide a seaworthy vessel and crew.
While in some cases the ship owner and the employer may be one in the same, there are many situations where the ship owner and the employer are separate companies or entities. In these cases, if you are an injured while in the service of a vessel you may be able to sue both the owner of the vessel and your employer under different laws and legal theories.
Figuring out the correct parties to sue for your injuries can be a very difficult process. The laws governing unseaworthiness claims, the Jones Act and other maritime actions can be hard to sort through so it is important to discuss your case with a skilled and knowledgeable maritime injury attorney. Our firm has over 30 years of experience representing workers and other individuals who have been injured on ships and vessels. We will discuss your situation with you one on one and work with you to develop the right legal strategies and approaches for your case.
At Willis Law Firm we know that countless conditions can give rise to an unseaworthiness claim, including failure to:
- Provide sufficient equipment to do the job safely
- Properly fix or repair broken equipment or conditions
- Provide properly designed equipment
- Adequately maintain equipment
- Keep decks free from spills, debris and other hazards
- Provide warning signs for dangerous conditions
- Provide ladders, stairs and handrails for safe movement
- Replace or take out of service worn out or old equipment
- Properly train and supervise crew members
- Provide a sufficient number of crew members to perform the job
- Provide the proper amount of safety devices and life-saving gear
When unseaworthy conditions exist and a worker is injured, the worker will have the right to seek damages from the ship owner. These damages may include:
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Assisted living expenses
- Travel Expenses and Mileage Reimbursement
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Our Firm Will Review Your Case Free of Charge
If you are a worker who has been injured on a ship or vessel, Willis Law Firm will review your case free of charge. During your initial meeting with our firm we will answer your questions and outline all legal options that may be available to you. You can reach us today to schedule your free consultation by completing our online form or by calling 1-800-468-4878.