Product liability law protects people injured by dangerous and defective products. When a piece of machinery or equipment on a ship or fishing vessel seriously injures workers because of poor design or manufacturing errors, a products liability case may be brought to seek justice for the injured person.
Maritime product liability lawyers have experience seeking compensation on behalf of injured maritime workers for all kinds of defective products. Common recoverable damages include pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and disability.
How a Maritime Products Liability Lawyer Can Help with Injuries Caused by Unsafe or Defective Products
If you are a deckhand, seaman, or other maritime worker who was injured by a defective or poorly maintained piece of equipment or machinery, it is very important to contact an experienced maritime injury attorney as soon as possible. A maritime injury lawyer will carefully review and investigate your accident claim to identify any parties who could be liable for your injuries. They will also work to preserve all evidence, including the equipment involved in your injury, to ensure that it is not tampered with or altered before you can recover full and fair compensation for your losses.
While employers may be responsible for certain maritime injuries that occurred due to unsafe working conditions such as a poorly maintained vessel, a products liability lawsuit is a legal action under General Maritime Law brought against third-party defendants to hold maritime product manufacturers, installers, or maintenance companies responsible for injuries caused by their defective or dangerous products. A defective product lawsuit is considered a third-party lawsuit because it is brought against a company other than the employer.
Identifying theories of liability for a defective equipment accident
When a piece of equipment causes a maritime accident, the injured victim may be able to pursue one or more causes of action against multiple parties to recover damages. A maritime accident lawyer will identify and use all relevant theories of liability in defective products claims against a defendant with the goal of holding all negligent parties accountable for the losses suffered by the injured person(s). Relevant theories of liability will be identified, including strict liability, breach of warranty, negligence, and deceptive marketing (misrepresentation).
For example, if the accident was caused by defective manufacturing or design, the injured maritime worker may be able to file a product liability claim against the equipment manufacturer using the strict liability theory of liability.
Four common elements in product liability lawsuits
There are four common elements in all product liability lawsuits, regardless of the legal theory behind the cause of action. The four elements in a defective product lawsuit are:
- A product used by the plaintiff
- A defect in the product in question
- The defect must be proved as the proximate cause of the injury
- Actual damages must have been suffered such as medical bills and pain and suffering
Maritime Product Liability laws
Legal and industrial regulations govern the manufacturing standards of maritime equipment. Once the parts have been shipped, the distributor is responsible for ensuring that there are no defects when the products are received by the retailer. When a distributor fails in their duty to ensure that the products they are delivering are free of defects, it may be considered a breach of product liability law. Once the products are in the care of the retailer, it becomes the seller’s responsibility to exercise a reasonable amount of care to make sure that each product is free of defects at the point of sale. If a product has a flaw in its design or manufacturing or if the seller fails to notify the consumer of the dangers associated with its use, the customer who is injured may have a maritime product liability case.
Types of products in maritime injury claims
Maritime industry product liability claims can be brought for injuries sustained by almost any type of equipment that is used on a maritime vessel or structure, including:
- Boom systems
- Pulley systems
- Cables & ropes
- Fuel tanks
- Safety equipment
- Fishing nets
- Doors and latches
- Conveyor belts
- Rigging equipment
- Hydraulic systems
- Processing equipment
- Transfer baskets
Seek the help of a maritime injury attorney
If you or a loved one was injured due to the reckless/negligent behavior of another seaman or maritime employer, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced maritime injury attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a maritime accident lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing maritime accident attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing grieving family members in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!