When a vessel is traveling in navigable waters and an accident happens, it is subject to maritime law. U.S. and some foreign flag vessels sailing worldwide that have a base of operations in the United States can remain subject to this law, which covers personal injury and wrongful deaths that happen at sea or in port. Laws which fall under this umbrella include the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, and other maritime accident laws that are intended to protect seamen, fishermen, and harbor workers, as well as their families.
Maritime Accident Causes
There are many reasons a maritime accident can occur, such as failure to maintain the vessel, improperly trained workers, navigating into dangerous conditions, and many others.
Some of the most common maritime accidents include:
- Offshore Oil Rig Accidents – The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill showed us that despite all of our technology and regulations, employers can still fail to keep an oil rig safe.
- Cruise Vessel Accidents – With hundreds of cruise ships docking in United States ports and having to meet strict deadlines, it is no wonder this is one of the most common maritime accidents. Passenger and crewmember cases are handled differently, but both types present potentially viable claims.
- Commercial Fishing – Even reality television knows how dangerous this line of work can be, and accidents often happen when a vessel comes into contact with harsh weather and/or when a fisherman falls over board.
- Tugboats – They are generally called in as a safety measure but can cause a maritime accident, especially when the driver has limited visibility due to the large vessel it is towing.
- Large Cargo Ships and Crude Oil Tankers – Given the volatile nature of the chemicals these vessels can carry, a failure in chemical storage is often a leading cause of accidents.
Maritime Accident Liability
When an employer or third party is found to negligently maintain or operate a vessel that puts their workers in danger, they can be held liable. This includes but is not limited to maritime accidents in:
- Commercial fishing
- Cargo ships
- Cruise ships
- Oil platforms
- Drilling and jack up rigs
- Embarking and disembarking
- Piers, docks, and other loading platforms
- Explosions and fires
- Piracy and kidnapping
Attorney for Maritime Accidents
If you or someone you know was injured or killed in a maritime accident, you have a limited time to act. Contact Dax F. Garza, P.C. immediately at no cost to learn your rights when filing a claim.