Third Party Liability Claims
Maritime workers, both those at sea and those in the harbor, often perform dangerous tasks for long hours. It is up to employers to maintain a safe working environment. In most cases, workers injured on the job are eligible for benefits under general maritime law.
When a workplace injury is caused by another party’s negligence, however, the worker may be able to recover damages through a third-party liability suit.
Types of Third Parties
Even when employers follow all required safety protocols, independent contractors and vendors that they work with may not.
Third parties that maritime workers may encounter include:
- Vessel owners
- Equipment manufacturers and distributors
- Maintenance and repair companies
- Wireline or crane operators
- Companies sharing dock space
There are a number of situations in which maritime workers might be injured by a third party’s negligence, many of them involving defective equipment. Workers encounter many types of dangerous equipment, such as engine systems, cable and pulley systems, cranes, forklifts, and winches.
If a defective product caused or contributed to a worker’s injury, a lawsuit may be brought against the manufacturer, distributor, installation or repair service, or some combination of these.
Depending on the circumstance, it may be more beneficial to bring a single lawsuit naming multiple defendants, rather than separate lawsuits against all responsible parties.
Maritime Injury Laws
Maritime workers are governed by a different set of laws than those in other industries. Workers on land, including longshoremen, repairmen, and harbor workers, are protected by the Longshoremen Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), which provides for Workers’ Compensation benefits to longshoremen who sustain a workplace injury.
Under the LHWCA, longshoremen cannot sue their employer for damage done, but they can bring a civil suit against a third party if their actions or inaction contributed to their injury. Workers at sea are protected under the Jones Act. While seamen can sue a negligent employer by filing a Jones Act claim, third party liability suits are governed under General Maritime Law.
Benefits for Injured Workers
Maritime injuries are often severe. They can cause temporary or permanent disability, preventing workers from returning to their jobs. Workers’ Compensation benefits are limited in scope and only cover certain things, including:
- Lost wages
- Medical costs
- A capped amount of funeral costs for workers who suffer fatal injuries
Pursuing a third party claim can help injured workers recover any remaining lost wages – past, present, or future – as well as damages for physical and mental pain and suffering.
Maritime injuries can be deadly, and in some cases, they may be entirely preventable. When a third party or its employees behave negligently and put maritime workers in danger, the resulting injuries can be devastating. It can be difficult to determine who is at fault when accidents occur at sea or in the harbor.
Because the circumstances and the laws are unique to maritime workers, it is vital to consult an experienced South Jersey maritime lawyer when pursuing a third-party claim.
South Jersey Offshore Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Provide Comprehensive Representation to Injured Maritime Workers
The South Jersey offshore injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. have successfully represented injured maritime workers for more than 65 years. We understand the complexities of both maritime and personal injury law and will prepare a sound legal strategy to ensure that those responsible for your injuries are held accountable for their negligence. We are dedicated to getting you the maximum compensation available under your third party claim.
Call us today at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation with a South Jersey offshore injury lawyer. We represent injured maritime workers across South Jersey, including Cape May, Wildwood, and Gloucester from our offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst North Carolina.