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Who can File a Claim of Unseaworthiness?

The Jones Act allows a maritime worker to file a claim against a vessel owner, if he has been injured by unsafe work conditions on a vessel. These claims are called unseaworthiness claims, and are filed only against the vessel owner, not the employer. However, in some cases, the vessel owner may be the employer of the worker, in which case, he may be named in a claim.

Unsafe work conditions on a vessel can refer to a number of factors that increase a maritime worker’s risk of being injured on a vessel. These can include everything from the physical structure of the vessel, to the competency and safety of crew members on the vessel. Broadly, you may file a claim of unseaworthiness against the vessel owner, in case your injury has been caused by any of the following:

  • Poor, unstable structure of the vessel
  • Slippery decks
  • Poor vessel design
  • Lack of life-saving equipment, like life preservers or life rafts
  • Lack of firefighting equipment
  • Lack of enough numbers of life rafts, life preservers and other life-saving gear
  • Lack of well fitting life-saving gear
  • Lack of enough numbers of crew members
  • Lack of well trained crew members
  • Lack of competent crew members
  • Unsafe machinery
  • Defective machinery, tools and equipment
  • Defective work procedures that increase the risks of an accident
  • Lack of adequate nutritious food

Any of the above conditions can cause serious injuries to a worker. However, there may be several other conditions that cause injury to a worker too.

If you believe you have been injured because of unsafe conditions on a vessel, speak to the maritime law lawyers at our firm to determine your rights.

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