The Doctrine of Unseaworthiness allows maritime workers to file a claim for an unseaworthy vessel they worked on. The doctrine is similar to the Jones Act in that it enables seamen to recover financial compensation for any injuries and damages they sustained while on the job.
If you have a Jones Act case on your hands, chances are you also have the ability to file an unseaworthiness claim as well. Filing an unseaworthiness claim helps you get the settlement you deserve. You can file your claim after sustaining your injuries with the help of an experienced lawyer by your side.
What Does Unseaworthiness Mean?
Unseaworthiness means that the vessel you were on wasn’t fit for the waters. Unseaworthiness may conjure up images of rusty boats and dilapidated ships, but structural issues aren’t the only thing that makes vessels unseaworthy. In order to be seaworthy, a vessel must:
- Have safe and solid construction
- Have safety measures on the ship to prevent accidents
- Have functioning tools and instruments that don’t break with regular use
- Have crew members that have proper training in their jobs
- Have good working hours and breaks for the crew
- Have appropriate safety equipment
- Follow closely with Coast Guard regulations
As you can see, there are many factors that go into ensuring a vessel is seaworthy. It’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure that all these factors get adequately met.
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When Can I File a Claim?
You can file a claim for unseaworthiness soon after getting injured. You’ll want to get medical treatment first and consult with a lawyer before you make any firm decisions. The worst thing is to file a claim before calculating your damages accurately. If you settle and forget to factor in critical damages, you won’t be able to recover compensation for them anymore.
Additionally, if you can file a claim under the Jones Act, there’s a high chance that you can also file a claim for unseaworthiness. This is because, while different, both claims have relation to each other because they both involve offshore injuries.
Differences Between Jones Act and Doctrine of Unseaworthiness
Both the Jones Act and the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness provide maritime workers with protections from injuries and damages. However, despite their similarity in function, there are two fundamental differences between them you should know before you file a claim.
Who You File Your Claim Against
The Jones Act requires that you file your claim against your employer. In contrast, the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness allows you to file a claim against the vessel owner. Essentially, you can file a claim against two separate entities that were responsible for your injuries.
Burden of Proof for Each Claim
For the Jones Act, you need to prove through negotiations or in court that your employer was directly responsible for your injuries. Thus, they are liable for the damages you have.
On the other hand, the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness claims only require that you prove that the vessel was unseaworthy in one aspect or several. There’s no need to prove the involvement of the vessel owner directly.
Damages You Can Pursue in an Unseaworthiness Claim
When you file a claim for unseaworthiness, there are several damages you can receive compensation for, including:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
The offshore injury lawyers at Morris Bart will help you calculate all your damages accurately. In addition, we will ensure that nothing gets overlooked or left out of your settlement.
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Statute of Limitations for Unseaworthiness Claims
Similar to the Jones Act, 46 U.S. Code § 30106 allows offshore injury victims three years to file their claim. You shouldn’t rush into your claim, but that doesn’t mean you should let time idle by either. It’s best to get medical treatment as fast as you can, then contact a lawyer to learn more about what you can do for your case.
The vessel owner may try to convince you to accept a fast cash settlement on their behalf. While this may be okay in certain circumstances, it’s still best to consult with a lawyer first before firmly settling on anything.
Talk to an Offshore Injury Lawyer Today
It can be confusing to understand the full extent of maritime law and how it affects your case. Between the Jones Act and Doctrine of Unseaworthiness, you may not even know where to begin to file your claim. The offshore injury attorneys at Morris Bart are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.