What Are Seaworthiness Claims?

Houston Maritime Injury Attorneys Explain Unseaworthiness and Jones Act Protections for Injured Seamen

Houston Seaworthiness Claims Lawyer

According to federal law, vessel owners must reasonably ensure the seaworthiness of their ships, boats, tugs, dredges, barges or any other vessels. This means owners must take reasonable steps to avoid or address dangerous working conditions. This can also include things that arise out of vessel and equipment maintenance and repair.

A claim of unseaworthiness under the Jones Act enables an injured seaman to seek compensation directly from the owner of a ship or other vessel. This is the case whether or not the owner had any prior knowledge of the dangerous conditions. All ship owners and businesses that operate vessels are legally required to ensure their vessels are fully seaworthy before every voyage. Any failure to do so, no matter how slight, that results in injury to a crewmember can translate to negligence and liability for the injured worker’s damages.

Were you injured? Or, was a family member killed in a maritime accident that occurred on an unseaworthy vessel? If so, then please contact the Houston, Texas, attorneys of Stevenson & Murray. We offer a free consultation. Additionally, all client consultations are strictly confidential. The law firm serves clients injured on vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico as well as on seas and oceans worldwide.

What Constitutes an Unseaworthy Vessel?

Examples include undermanning of vessels, equipment failure, missing safety equipment, lack of an appropriate number of life vests or rafts. Any of these may constitute a failure of seaworthiness. Even a temporary condition can give rise to a seaworthiness claim. Examples include broken rigging, a malfunctioning crane or winch, or an onboard oil spill resulting in slippery decks.

Seaworthiness failure claims often involve complex issues of liability as well as fine legal distinctions. These may be beyond the experience of any but the most accomplished maritime and admiralty attorneys. Furthermore, seaworthiness claims may require standing up for the rights of an injured crewman against the interests of a major multinational corporation.

The attorneys at Stevenson & Murray have the professional experience with seaworthiness claims to handle the most complex claims for clients in the Houston area. If you’re unsure whether the vessel where you were injured occurred qualifies as seaworthy, we can review the details of how and why your injury happened, interview other crewmembers if necessary, and assist you in determining liability for the incident. Our goal is to help you approach your recovery efforts confidently and secure maximum compensation for your sustained damages.

FAQs

Q: Who Can Sue for Unseaworthiness?

A: Most unseaworthiness claims are filed by injured maritime workers. However, the victim of an accident caused by an unseaworthy vessel does not necessarily need to be an employee of the vessel owner or any other type of maritime worker to file a claim. If you were injured in an accident due to a vessel’s unseaworthiness, you likely have grounds for a claim against the party responsible for the vessel’s care and maintenance.

Q: What Makes a Vessel Seaworthy?

A: A vessel is “seaworthy” when it meets all applicable safety requirements and regulatory standards meant to ensure safe operation at sea. Seaworthiness means the vessel is capable of maintaining balance while traversing the water, preventing water from entering the inside of the vessel, and having all the necessary equipment to reach destinations safely. If a ship owner fails to ensure their vessel meets all applicable regulations and safety requirements, they will likely be liable for subsequent unseaworthiness claims from injured workers.

Q: How Much Is My Unseaworthiness Claim Worth in Houston?

A: Any worker injured by an unseaworthy vessel could potentially secure substantial compensation for their losses if they have the right legal counsel handling their case. A claimant could have the right to claim various types of compensation from the defendant beyond just maintenance and cure, and a good attorney will provide their client with an estimate of their claim’s potential value at the outset of their proceedings.

Q: How Much Does a Houston Seaworthiness Claim Attorney Cost?

A: It’s understandable to worry about the potential cost of legal representation when you are already struggling with the negative economic effects of your accident. Many people mistakenly think that legal counsel is prohibitively expensive, and this deters them from securing legal counsel when they need it most. The firm of Stevenson & Murray accepts injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that your attorney’s fee is only a percentage of your final case award. There are no ongoing legal costs during your case and no fee if our team fails to secure a recovery on your behalf.

Q: Is It Worth Hiring a Houston Seaworthiness Claim Attorney?

A: Do not assume that the cost of hiring an attorney would be more than you could obtain in compensation from the party responsible for your injury. Stevenson & Murray will help you maximize your recovery, and our legal fee comes out of your final case award as a flat percentage. Therefore, there are no surprises when it comes to the cost of representation, and there is no fee at all if you don’t secure a case award.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer

The Texas law firm of Stevenson & Murray welcomes the opportunity to stand up for you. We will fight for your recovery after a seaworthiness failure resulted in serious injury or wrongful death on an unsafe vessel. We invite you to contact our Houston offices (713) 622-3223 to discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation. You may also contact us by email for straightforward answers or to request a case evaluation.