A Maritime Products Liability Lawyer Can Help After an Accident
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. The maritime product liability lawyers know these claims all too well, and are ready to help.
Commonly Defective Equipment
When a piece of machinery or equipment on a ship or vessel malfunctions or is improperly designed, workers can be seriously harmed. Maritime accidents and injuries can involve almost any piece of equipment or machinery found on the vessel or structure, including:
- Doors and latches
- Transfer baskets
- Cables & Ropes
- Engine systems
- Rigging equipment
- Safety equipment
- Lights and lighting systems
- Water purification systems
- Hydraulic systems
- Boom systems
- Pulley systems
- Processing equipment
How Your Maritime Products Liability Attorney Will Investigate and Preserve Evidence in Your Case
If you are a crew member or other maritime worker who has been injured by a defective, worn out or poorly maintained piece of equipment or machinery it is essential to contact an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible. Multiple parties can potentially be held legally responsible when an equipment failure accident takes place. A skilled attorney will carefully review and investigate your accident to identify all of the parties who may be liable for your injuries. Your lawyer will also take the appropriate steps to preserve the equipment at issue in your case, making certain that the equipment is not modified, destroyed or put back into service until a full investigation is completed. The proper identification and preservation of equipment and other evidence will be critical to the success of your case.
When a seaman or other maritime worker is injured due to an equipment failure or defective product, the worker may have the right to file a lawsuit against certain third-party defendants. A third-party lawsuit is a legal action under General Maritime Law that is brought against a company other than the employer. If a defective product or piece of machinery causes an injury, the injury victim can file a products liability claim against certain third-party defendants, including product manufacturers, installers and maintenance companies.
Identifying the Proper Legal Causes of Action After a Defective Equipment Accident
Claims Against Manufacturers and Other Companies
When a piece of equipment causes a maritime accident, the victim may be able to pursue a number of different causes of action against multiple parties. For example, if the accident was caused by defective manufacturing or design, the injured worker may be able to file a product liability claim against the equipment manufacturer. If the equipment was not properly repaired or maintained, the worker may be able to take legal action against the company responsible for maintaining and repairing the equipment.
Claims Against Employers
Maritime employers have a duty to ensure that the all of the equipment and machinery on the vessel is safe and in proper working order. Employers must also make sure that the workers who are using the machinery are properly trained and supervised. When a seaman is injured because a piece of equipment fails or is misused by a crew member, the seaman will have the right to file a negligence claim against the employer under the Jones Act. In a Jones Act negligence claim the seaman can recover damages similar to a general negligence claim, including lost income, past and future medical expenses, lost earning capacity, mental anguish, disability and disfigurement, and pain and suffering.
Claims Against Ship and Vessel Owners
In the event that the ship or vessel is owned by a company that is not the employer, the injured worker may also be able to seek compensation from the vessel owner. In these types of situations, the worker will file an “unseaworthiness” claim against the company that owns the ship or vessel. If the owner failed to make sure that the equipment on the ship was in safe and proper working order and a worker is injured, the worker has the right to sue the owner for damages.
What Else is Considered a Third Party Lawsuit?
Similarly if a crew worker is exposed to asbestos dust or asbestos insulation products and years later is diagnosed with asbestos cancer or mesothelioma then that worker and his family have a right to file a product liability case against the asbestos product manufacturer, distributor and the shipowner for the asbestos related diseases.
This is also the case when a worker is exposed solvents, lubricants and paint thinners containing benzene and years later that worker is diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukemia, also called acute myelocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia or AML leukemia. The injured worker and family can also file suit against the shipowner, employer and the product manufacturer.
Talk to an Experienced Maritime Products Liability Lawyer
If you are a crew member, officer or other maritime worker who has been harmed due to the failure of a piece of equipment or dangerous product, contact an experienced maritime injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. The Willis Law Firm represents employees nationwide who have been injured in all types of maritime accidents. Our team of aggressive advocates will analyze your case from every angle to make certain that we are pursuing all legal avenues that may be available. Our firm understands the intricacies of the law and we are committed to obtaining the best possible outcome in your case.
Regardless of whether you are injured on a ship, drilling rig, barge, tug boat, or another type of vessel or structure, maritime products liability cases involve complex facts and issues of law. When equipment or machinery fails, the resulting injuries can be severe, including burns, fractures, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs and exposure to toxic chemicals and substances. In a products liability case, multiple parties can potentially be held legally liable for your injuries, ranging from product manufacturers, distributors and suppliers to installers and maintenance companies. Additionally, depending upon the circumstances of your accident, you may also be able to file a Jones Act and/or other general maritime lawsuits against your employer and the owner of the ship or vessel. A skilled lawyer can advise you of your rights and make sure that you are taking all steps necessary to protect and preserve your claims.
The Willis Law Firm Can Help
When you are injured it can be difficult to determine your next steps. The Willis Law Firm is here to help. We represent seamen and maritime workers nationwide who have been injured in workplace accidents, including accidents caused by defective equipment. We offer free initial consultations with a maritime attorney who will answer your questions and make certain that you understand your legal rights. You can reach us today online or by calling 1-800-468-4878. Our consultations are completely confidential and you are under no obligation to hire our firm.