What Is Unseaworthiness?
Every worker, no matter where their job takes them, deserves a safe environment to make their wages in. This is doubly true in the case of maritime work, where the job hazards are numerous and the risk for injury or illness as a result of unsafe workplaces is high.
American maritime law provides a special doctrine for unseaworthy vessels that is a separate and distinct theory of liability outside of the Jones Act, the defining body of maritime law in America. Unseaworthiness means that any given aspect of a vessel, her equipment, or even her crew is not reasonably fit for its intended purposes. This can arise from the vessel having insufficient manpower for a task, defective equipment, damage to the vessel itself, or any unsafe condition onboard that poses an unreasonable threat to the safety of the crew. In the eyes of the law, any unsafe condition aboard a vessel can contribute to unseaworthiness; the vessel does not have to sink or be inoperable for the law to consider it unseaworthy.
What Can I Do If I Am Injured By An Unseaworthy Vessel?
Regardless of whether or not the vessel’s owner is aware of any unsafe conditions aboard their vessel, if a worker is injured by unseaworthy conditions the vessel owner is responsible for these injuries. Understaffed crew, poor conditions, employer negligence that creates an unsafe condition – whatever the reason, if a worker is hurt by a vessel that is found to be unfit for use, the responsibility lies with the owner of the vessel for not maintaining safe conditions aboard the vessel.
If you have been injured while working on the water, and you think the injury is due to an unseaworthy condition aboard the vessel, you should contact a maritime attorney immediately. Many shipowners will attempt to settle out of court for an insulting amount, or prevent you from seeking justice through agreements that stack the deck against the injured party. Before signing any paperwork or contacting your employer, you need the help of a lawyer.
Can O’Bryan Law Help Me?
Being Jones Act lawyers on the national stage, O’Bryan Law has the skill and experience you need to pursue any maritime injury case no matter where in America the injury took place. We’ll travel where we need to and work with you no matter what your injury was to make sure you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you believe an unseaworthy vessel or unsafe working conditions led to you getting injured on the job, O’Bryan Law will stand up for your rights against the onslaught of the big corporations. Contact O’Bryan today and let us help you navigate the waters of maritime law.