Unseaworthiness

Federal maritime law states that it is the responsibility of a vessel owner to ensure a safe and secure working environment for employees working aboard their craft.

When a crew member is injured or killed because the vessel wasn’t seaworthy, the impacted employee or their family can sue the vessel owner for damages under the Unseaworthiness Doctrine. The employee may also be able to file a claim of negligence against their employer if the employer is a different person or company than the ship owner.

The unseaworthiness doctrine works to ensure protections for seamen. “Seaman,” in this instance, is a man or woman who spends 30 percent or more of their working time on boats or ships as a crew member or otherwise contributes to the vessel’s function or navigation. When a seaman has sustained serious injury due to an offshore accident, the Unseaworthiness Doctrine allows the injured victim to seek fair compensation for their medical costs, physical limitations, and emotional anguish.

If a jury finds that a vessel was unseaworthy at the time of an accident, the owner may be liable for damages, regardless of whether the unseaworthiness claim proves negligence or fault. The unseaworthiness claim is separate from negligence under the Jones Act and may offer additional avenues for compensation and recovery of damages.

When Unseaworthiness Applies to Houston Maritime Accidents

Under federal maritime laws, Texas employers have a duty to provide a vessel that is reasonably safe and seaworthy. “Seaworthiness” refers to safe working conditions aboard a ship or vessel. When an accident occurs due to unsafe working conditions, it may be possible to hold the owner accountable without having to prove negligence.

Along with the Jones Act and the maintenance and cure, the unseaworthiness doctrine is one of three avenues available to seamen who become injured or ill on the job as a means of receiving compensation.

Your Texas Maritime Unseaworthiness Claim

Various factors may lead to claims of unseaworthiness. Those include:

  • Improper method of operation or unsafe procedures
  • Insufficient, inadequate, or incompetent crew
  • Heavy work schedule, leading to fatigue
  • Inadequate safety equipment or safety training
  • Failure of equipment under normal use
  • Slippery decks (or obstructions on deck)
  • Unsafe ladders, stairs, or gangways
  • Defective equipment, appliance, tools, or cargo packaging
  • Failure to warn of a dangerous condition
  • Inadequate procedures for harsh weather

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our skilled Texas maritime accident lawyers understand the complexities of unseaworthiness and all related causes of action that fall under that doctrine. With this in-depth knowledge, our four decades of experience handling maritime accident cases, and access to the resources needed to pursue these cases, we have been able to win multi-million dollar maritime accident settlements and verdicts. Our personal injury lawyers are known throughout Houston for our work on offshore injury cases and our history of success in representing people injured in maritime accidents.

How the Houston Maritime Accident Lawyers Will Help You

An injured seaman, or a fallen seaman’s family, can file for compensation related to lost income, medical expenses, disability, and more. If you want to pursue an unseaworthiness claim against an employer who caused your or your loved one to suffer from a serious offshore injury, The Krist Law Firm, P.C. has the solution.

When you are the victim of a maritime accident, it is important to work with knowledgeable maritime accident lawyers who are well-versed in unseaworthiness claims. Our Houston personal injury law firm has a proven track record of success helping our clients receive the compensation they deserve.

Our team of Houston maritime accident lawyers is known throughout Texas for our work on offshore injury cases. If you are the victim of a maritime accident, it is important to work with a personal injury lawyer who can skillfully analyze who is at fault for your offshore injury and fight to get you maximum compensation.

When your employer neglects shipboard conditions, fails to provide the appropriate safety gear and equipment, or maintains a vessel that is improperly designed or unsafe, The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can help. Call our Houston personal injury lawyers today at to receive a free consultation.