Under the federal maritime law, vessel owners owe all seamen working on their vessels the duty and obligation to provide a seaworthy vessel. Failure to provide a seaworthy vessel subjects the vessel owner to the maritime claim of unseaworthiness. Under the strict liability claim of unseaworthiness, the vessel owner has a non-delegable duty to assure that all aspects of the vessel, including the vessel’s hull, machinery, crew, gear and appurtenances, are fit for their intended purpose and working properly. In the case of a seaman maritime injury caused by unseaworthiness, the seaman is entitled to recover past lost wages, future lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, medical costs – and under certain circumstances, punitive damages.
The maritime claim of unseaworthiness exists to protect seamen against the many dangers they encounter while working aboard vessels. Examples of unseaworthiness include failure to properly train the crew, faulty safety procedures, failure to have properly working safety equipment such as life rafts and survival suits, failure of vessel equipment – including lines, cranes, blocks, coilers, wenches, tow bridles, launchers, trawl gear, seine gear, rollers, gaffs, hydraulic rams, hydraulic pumps, hydraulic lines and switches, navigation equipment, plate freezers, ammonia and freon cooling systems, RSW systems, lazarette pumps and hatches; as well as improper design, inappropriate vessel stability, the failure to provide proper crew clothing, failure to provide appropriate gear, failure to properly man the vessel, and the violation of safety statutes, codes, regulations and standards.
Maritime insurance is meant to cover a seaman’s claim for unseaworthiness. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling unseaworthiness claims. Our understanding of maritime insurance and the maritime industry, coupled with our understanding of maritime injury claims, including Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness, maritime wrongful death, and maintenance, cure and unearned wages, gives you the added edge in having us resolve your maritime injury or wrongful death claims – be it by settlement or trial.