The Limitation of Liability Act
Have you been injured on an offshore vessel?
General maritime law states that the owner of a vessel may be subject to liability for any losses or damages that happen during the vessel's voyage. However, many ship owners attempt to avoid taking responsibility for accidents and deaths that occur on their vessel under the Limitation of Liability Act. This Act allows owners in certain cases to limit liability if the unseaworthy condition of the vessel causing the loss occurred without the knowledge or privity of the vessel owner.
The Act covers personal injury losses such as deaths and collisions, as well as cargo losses like loss of property, goods, or merchandise. Injured seamen soon realize the importance that this Act plays in determining the amount and availability of compensation available for their injuries because the liability is limited to the value of the vessel and its "freight then pending" after the time the loss occurred. This might mean that an offshore worker who has suffered injury or property loss will not be fully covered in their claims for damages. For this reason, the Act has been increasingly criticized for being obsolete in the face of newer methods that make it easier to invest in maritime commerce without the fear of unlimited liability. Regardless, the Act still plays a dominating role in determining the amount of compensation that an offshore worker can receive, and an offshore injury attorney at Arnold & Itkin LLP can provide you with the necessary legal knowledge needed to file for an injury claim.
Reliable Legal Representation from a Maritime Attorney
Our years of experience handling offshore injury claims has given us an in-depth understanding of the Act and how it plays out in real life situations. As a result, we know how the Act will apply in your scenario and when a ship owner may attempt to limit their legal accountability after an offshore accident or fatality occurs. A personal injury lawyer at our firm can help you prove that the owner of your vessel had full or partial knowledge of the unsafe working conditions that caused your accident. Without this proof, your chance for recovery shrinks and may be inadequate to cover your losses, especially if multiple claimants are involved.
A limitation action involves a stay of all other pending litigation and also a consolidation, or "concursus" of all claims into one proceeding. This is done to gather the assets and prioritize the claims in the case that the value of the vessel and its freight are not adequate to cover the claims for compensation. If the ship owner succeeds in limiting liability, the claimants will be limited to their pro rata shares, a proportion of compensation that has been calculated by several determining factors. This is concerning, especially for the families of offshore workers who are dependent on the worker's salary. Make the right decision for your future, contact a professional maritime attorney today to start receiving the strong legal support you need to win the maximum amount of compensation in your offshore injury claim.