Working on the water can be a dangerous job. Whether you are employed on a fishing boat or a ferry, there are plenty of hazards to look out for if you want to avoid injuries. This is true even when the owner of the vessel you work on has done their best to keep it safe. If you get injured and you realize that the owner may be at fault because they did not do their best to keep the vessel safe, you may be able to make a claim under the “Doctrine of Unseaworthiness.” An offshore injury lawyer from our firm can help you with that.

What Does the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness Mean?

The owner of a vessel is supposed to keep it safe. If something breaks, it gets replaced. If there’s an updated part or component that can keep workers safer, they should install it. If they do not do this, they should be held responsible when someone gets hurt onboard their ship. This is when you can claim the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness.

In order to claim this, you have to show a few things. First of all, you must be considered a “seaman,” meaning someone who spends a significant amount of time working at sea. You then have to show that the vessel was unseaworthy. You can argue that:

  • Equipment required to do your job was not well-maintained
  • The crew or a member of the crew did not have the right training to do the job and you were hurt as a result
  • You slipped and fell on a deck that was not cared for properly
  • You were hurt by harmful cargo that was not properly stored or contained

How Can the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness Affect My Benefits?

Normally, if you get hurt and claim benefits through the Jones Act you will receive maintenance and cure benefits. These are meant to pay for living expenses and medical care.

If you claim that an unseaworthy vessel caused your injuries, that can complicate your claim. You may be able to receive more benefits, but you would not be able to double up on them. For example, you would not be paid for the same medical expenses twice. If your loved one passed away on an unseaworthy vessel, you may be able to win additional compensation on an unseaworthiness claim like loss of consortium. We recommend talking to a lawyer and learning all about maritime injury benefits before you make your claim.

What Are the Deadlines For Applying for Benefits?

If you want to file a claim under the Jones Act, you must do so within three years. If you wait any longer than that, your claim is likely to be thrown out. This is true even if you can show that a vessel was unseaworthy.

Contact Our Maritime Injury Lawyers Today

If you got hurt on the job, make sure that you know about all of your options. Contact Amy C Brown Law, PLLC and schedule a consultation with our team. If there’s a way to help you secure benefits, we will help you find it.