Maritime work comes with a variety of benefits, but with one major pitfall: The industry is dangerous. Seamen work under some of the most extreme conditions, placing them at risk of severe injuries.

You might be eligible to recover damages under the Public Vessels Act if your injuries took place on a ship owned by the United States Government. Compensation under the Public Vessels Act is a right, not a privilege, and BOATLAW, LLP is willing to fight to ensure you receive what you are entitled to.

Public Vessels Act Maritime Attorney in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

Recovering compensation under the Public Vessels Act will require you to file suit against the U.S. Government. This will not be an easy task, but BOATLAW, LLP is up for the challenge. Call 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a time to speak with us.

BOATLAW, LLP has been representing injured maritime workers for over 40 years in states along the West Coast including Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

Information Center

Back to Top

What is the Public Vessels Act?

The Public Vessels Act (PVA) is a federal maritime law making the United States accountable for the damages caused by a public vessel. Before the PVA, the United States Government had sovereign immunity and could not be a defendant in maritime cases involving personal injury or death.  This means injured maritime workers could not file suit against the U.S. and seek compensation for their injuries.

A public vessel is any vessel owned by the United States or used for public service. Vessels falling under the jurisdiction of the PVA include public transportation vessels such as ferries, firefighting boats, vessels used for marine and wildlife conservation and Coast Guard vessels. A government-owned vessel operated by a private contractor is also considered a public vessel under the PVA.

The PVA is fault-based, meaning you must prove your employer’s negligence or the vessel’s unseaworthiness contributed to your injuries. Unseaworthiness doesn’t necessarily mean the ship is incapable of sailing. Instead, a vessel is considered unseaworthy if it lacks proper maintenance, crew and the equipment necessary to properly operate.

Back to Top

PVA Statute of Limitation

All personal injury claims have a statue of limitation, which is a given time frame set forth by the laws governing a case.  The Public Vessels Act has a statute of limitation of two years. This means you have two years from the date of your injury to hold the U.S Government accountable for their negligence. You will lose your right to hold the government accountable and recover compensation if you fail to act within two years.

The PVA may have a statue of limitation of two years, but you must file sooner when taking action against the United States. All suits filed under the PVA are subject to an administrative claim requirement of six months.  It’s important to recognize an administrative claim will not stall the two-year statute of limitation. Because of this, you must take action against the government within 18 months of the maritime accident.

Due to these confusing and restrictive deadlines, it’s advised you speak with a maritime lawyer immediately following your injuries.

Back to Top

Recoverable Damages

Working as a seaman puts you at risk for serious injuries. The injury can be something as minor as a scrape or first-degree burn to more serious injuries such as brain trauma and broken limbs. With the skyrocketing cost of medical care, treating such injuries is expensive.

Regardless of how severe, you should not be financially responsible for the injuries you suffered at the hands of someone else. The maritime lawyers at BOATLAW, LLP may be able to help you recover the following damages:

  • Initial and ongoing treatment cost
  • Lost wages
  • Future loss of income
  • Short or long term disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Back to Top

Additional Resources for tthe Public Vessels Act

Public Vessels Act | U.S. Code – Visit the official website of Cornell Law School to read through the Public Vessels Act. You can find out when civil action can be taken under the act, where the action should be filed and exoneration and limitation of the United States.

Inspection and Regulation of Vessels – Follow the link provided to read the subchapter of the U.S. Code over vessel inspection and regulation. You can learn about the necessary safety management systems, how often vessels should be inspected and prohibited acts. The code can be read on the official website of Cornell Law School.

Back to Top

Public Vessels Act Maritime Lawyer in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska  

Taking on the United States Government may seem daunting, but they should be held accountable for the pain and suffering they’ve casued.  BOATLAW, LLP will stop at nothing to ensure you receive the compensation you need for a full recovery.

Call 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation. We represent injured maritime workers in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

Back to Top