What is negligence under maritime law?

Maritime negligence means failing to ensure proper care and caution in navigation activities in state waters.

A shipowner's primary responsibility is to ensure reasonable conditions aboard their vessel to prevent injury, illness, or damage. Failure or breach of this duty resulting in injuries aboard is considered negligence by maritime law. Whether through incompetence, laziness, or rolling back expenses to make a profit, employer negligence can be dangerous or even fatal to employees. The act of maritime negligence can include:

  • faulty boat maintenance
  • reckless navigation
  • inadequate training for the crew
  • lack of safety equipment

Individuals injured in maritime accidents may seek compensation if they prove that negligence caused their suffering. However, maritime law has its own set of negligence standards that differ from Florida state laws in many instances and apply to the vast spectrum of maritime negligence claims. Maritime law applies to everyone involved in maritime activities, including:

  • boat owners
  • seafarers
  • crew members
  • maritime equipment producers
  • maritime employers

Maritime personal injury cases and the Jones Act

The Bill is also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, and this federal law protects the rights of injured seamen to file a claim or lawsuit against the employer for negligence. Under the Jones Act, an employer’s duty of care is to provide a reasonably safe working environment and to exercise care through:

  • ensuring seamen a relatively safe place to work
  • maintain the vessel in a safe condition 

Maritime negligence claims are bound to a statute of limitations of three years from the date of injury, so seeking the help of an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to secure compensation. Maritime workers can hold employers liable for any damages suffered due to the employer's negligence, including:

  • falling overboard
  • slipping and falling on the deck
  • exposure to chemical hazards
  • asphyxiation in enclosed spaces on board
  • chemical burns
  • fires and explosions
  • bodily injuries
  • fishing accidents
  • dock and pier accidents
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.