Vessel owners, by law, must provide a “seaworthy vessel” that is suitable for it’s intended use. An unseaworthiness claim arises when an injury is caused by the conditions of the vessel itself. An unsafe condition may include defective equipment, lack of proper safety equipment, and even untrained or incompetent crew members.
Conditions that may be Considered “Unseaworthy”
- worn out, malfunctioning, or poorly maintained machinery and equipment
- lack of appropriate safety equipment life jackets, life rafts, fire extinguishers, etc.
- lack of proper safety and warning signs
- Lack or unsafe exits between the vessel and shore
- Trip, slip, and fall hazards such as ropes left in walkways, or oil on decks
- Too few crew members to perform tasks safely
- Untrained or incompetent crew members
- Insufficient supervision
The Jones Act
The Jones Act allows for injured employees to seek compensation from their employers for injuries sustained on the water. As well, the Jones Act permits those who have been injured to file an unseaworthiness claim (if applicable) against the owner of the vessel, too. Whether or not it’s the employer’s fault or the vessel owner’s fault, an employee may be able to seek redress against either one under the Jones Act.
Shipping and other sea-based jobs can be very dangerous. Sadly, some vessel owners and employers do not take care to ensure that their working conditions are safe for all their employees. The fact is, those in charge of a ship have a responsibility to make sure that the possibility for injuries is minimized on a vessel.
Contact Maritime Lawyer Richard Serpe
An experienced maritime lawyer can help you get the results, the settlement and the financial compensation you deserve for your long term care. Richard Serpe gained a Master’s Degree in maritime law from Tulane University School of Law. He has also been awarded the rank of Proctor (the highest rank available) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States.