Third Party Negligence Claims under General Maritime Law

Every year in California, Alaska, Connecticut, Washington, New York, and Oregon individuals are injured on the job due to the negligent acts of others. Workplace injuries, more often than not, always have two parties: the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff is known as the injured worker while the defendant is the person who has been accused of being at fault for the injury. In the maritime industry, when a seaman is injured, they can file a negligence claim against their employer.

When a maritime employee is injured due to an equipment failure or defective product, they can file a lawsuit against third-party defendants. A third-party negligence claim is a legal action under general maritime law. It allows the plaintiff to gain recoverable damages from a third party who is responsible for causing your injury.

If you have been injured due to a negligent third party, contact our experienced maritime injury attorneys at BOATLAW, LLP.

Maritime Injury Lawyers for Third Party Negligence Claims

Have you been injured in a maritime setting from a third party other than your employer?  If so, it’s best to seek the experienced guidance and legal counsel of a maritime attorney. Our maritime injury lawyers at BOATLAW, LLP are familiar with the Longshore Act and Jones Act. We will work hard to obtain compensation for your injuries.

Let the experienced attorneys at BOATLAW, LLP help you. We represent clients throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, New York, California, and Alaska. Call us today at 1-800-262-8529 to receive a free consultation.

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Information Center

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What is Negligence?

Under maritime law, negligence is a failure to exercise appropriate or ethical care resulting in injury to another person. Generally speaking, when a maritime employer causes injury to their worker, under the legal principle of “negligence,” they can be held accountable for any resulting harm.

Proving negligence is required for a personal injury claim if the goal is to obtain a monetary award for any damages. When a plaintiff (the person injured) files a negligence claim, they must show that the defendant (the person allegedly at fault) breached their duty of care and ultimately caused the injury because of it. There are four elements required to prove negligence.

  • Duty of care: Under 46 U.S. Code § 30102, vessel owners and operators of boats owe a high duty of care to their passengers. Generally, this means they must do everything possible to avoid their passengers from becoming injured.
  • Breach of duty: When filing a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed to uphold their duty of care, choosing to act in a way no reasonable person would.
  • Causation: Causation is the third element required to prove negligence. Causation requires that the plaintiff show the defendant directly caused his or her injuries.
  • Damages: The final element of a negligence claim is damages. This element requires that the court compensates the plaintiff for their injuries. Damages include funeral costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses, among others.

Some common examples of situations when third parties are liable for work injuries include:

  • Defective products: Work-related accidents at sea often occur because of a defective product. A tool may cause electric shock and as a result, injured employees file a claim against the product manufacturer.
  • Toxic substances: Workers at sea may inhale toxic substances on the job. Maritime employees may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer of these substances.

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The Jones Act

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in the United States. Per 46 U.S.C. § 30104, the Jones Act allows seamen who suffer injuries or wrongful death during course of their employment the right to seek justice through civil courts. They have the right to hold their employer accountable in tort or a jury trial.

When a seaman is injured on the job, they have the option to file a negligence claim under general maritime law. Under the Jones Act, seamen are entitled to several different areas of compensation including (but not limited to):

  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Past medical bills
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Lost wages, past and future
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent impairments

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Additional Resources for Maritime Third Party Negligence Claims

The Longshore Act: 33 U.S. Code Chapter 18 – Visit the website to view Chapter 18 of 33 U.S. Code which encompasses the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This link provides information about determination of pay, compensation for disability, compensation for death and more.

CDC: Maritime Worker Safety – Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to read more information about maritime worker safety. Click the link to learn about chemical hazards, injury hazards, environment hazards, personal protective equipment, and worker health and well-being. The website also provides information on commercial fishing.

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Jones Act Injury Lawyer in Washington State

If you are a harbor worker, longshoreman or other maritime worker who was injured on the job, you may be eligible for benefits under the Longshore Act or Jones Act. Reach out to BOATLAW, LLP today to speak with an admiralty and maritime lawyer about your case.

Since 1977, our law firm has represented clients injured aboard ships of all sizes and classes. We defend maritime workers throughout the Pacific Northwest, including in New York, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California. Our offices are in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington, Portland, New York City, and San Francisco, California. Call us today at 1-800-262-8529 to receive a consultation free of charge. Allow us to help you recover damages under federal law.

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