Firm Recognition:
Recognized as Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Texas by The National Trial Lawyers
Named Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters Business
Recognized in Best Lawyers in America publication
Recognized as Top 500 Leading Plaintiff’s Lawyers by Lawdragon Magazine
Recognized in the Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts and Settlements
Recipient of 50 Year Service Award by Houston Bar Association
Honored for Nation’s Top One Percent – NADC
Recognized as Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers
Recognized as Top 40 under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers
Recipient of the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents Litigator Award
Call today @ 281-283-8500 | No Recovery, No Fee
Call today: 281-283-8500
Legal Blog

Are Vessel Owners or Employers Liable for Maritime Injuries?

In most cases, the owner of the vessel you work on is also your employer. But sometimes, the vessel you are assigned to may be owned by a different company than the one that pays your salary. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to obtain compensation from both the shipowner and your employer, or one or the other. For this reason, you should consult with an experienced maritime injury lawyer about how to determine who is liable for maritime injuries.

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we have a long and proven track record of getting injured maritime professionals the compensation they deserve. We will closely review the facts and determine how to best secure the compensation you are entitled to. There could be several.

If you’ve been injured at sea, call us today at (281) 283-8500 for a free consultation about your case.

Possible Compensation from Your Employer and the Ship Owner

If you’re a sailor, you may be entitled to compensation under several legal statutes. In these cases, a sailor is someone employed on a vessel operating in navigable waters, and whose duties contribute to the functioning of the vessel.

If you’re a sailor and are injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation under the:

  • Jones Act–An injured sailor has the right to sue their employer for negligence after an injury. The employer may also be the shipowner. What is essential is to prove that the employer failed to meet their duty to provide you a reasonably safe place to work and that their failure contributed to your injuries.
  • Unseaworthiness–This is a strict liability claim against a shipowner. This means that if the vessel’s maintenance or design did not meet the standard for seaworthiness, the owner is liable for maritime injuries that result. Unlike the Jones Act, this does not require an employment relationship between the injured sailor and the shipowner–passengers may also make claims. But in most cases, the shipowner also happens to be the employer.
  • Maintenance and Cure–Instead of workers’ compensation, injured sailors benefit from the right to maintenance and cure. This compensation is provided by your employer and is intended to cover living and medical expenses until you reach your maximum point or recovery.

Usually, your employer will also be the owner of the ship. But if this isn’t the case, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer and the sip owner. For example, if you are a harbor pilot, and your employer sends you to pilot a ship through the harbor channel during a heavy storm, and you get injured, you may be in a position to sue both your employer and the owner of the ship where your injury occurred.

To succeed in a Jones Act claim against your employer, you would need to show that it was negligent of your employer to send you to work in the storm. An unseaworthiness claim means showing that poorly maintained or inadequate equipment caused your injury. In this scenario, both requirements could be satisfied if you were injured when the ship’s faulty boarding ladder broke under the strain from the wind and waves.

A Houston Maritime Injury Lawyer Can Help

Every case of being injured at sea is unique and involves different facts. These facts will determine exactly what laws may apply to you and what you can recover in the way of compensation. So if you have been injured at sea and want to know what you are dealing with, and who owes you what, you should consult with an experienced maritime lawyer.

Call The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500. and set up a free, no-risk consultation. We will answer your maritime law questions, and explain how to recover what you deserve.