Unseaworthiness Claims


Suffering an injury at sea can lead to medical bills, lost wages and other financial hardships. Family members who lose a loved one at sea may struggle if the deceased was the primary source of financial support in the household. Maritime attorneys are able to help people who are impacted by an injury or death at sea understand their rights.

The Jones Act offers protection to seamen who are injured or killed at sea, but other maritime laws apply to these situations if unseaworthiness is involved. The reason that maritime laws must be referenced in relation to unseaworthiness is because the Jones Act provides protection related to the negligence of employers in providing a safe vessel. Unseaworthiness claims must be brought against the person who owns the vessel involved in the incident.

Vessel owners are legally responsible for ensuring that their vessels remain seaworthy. Seaworthiness implies that the vessel has been properly maintained in order to ensure that anyone who works on the vessel is kept safe from accidents that could result in injury or death.

Examples of unsafe conditions aboard a vessel include:

  • Walking paths that are slippery
  • The omission of fire safety equipment aboard the vessel
  • The omission of first aid equipment aboard the vessel
  • An inadequate number of life vests for the number of people who are aboard the vessel
  • Unsafe food or drinking water
  • Tools, equipment, or machinery with dangerous defects
  • Inadequate training guidelines for crew members
  • An inadequate number of crew members on board
  • Lack of criminal history checks for crew members

This list above is not exhaustive. Any incident that occurs because a vessel was not maintained properly can be considered to be related to unseaworthiness, but there are some instances in which the incident does not involve a failure to upkeep the vessel. Attorneys working for maritime law firms can discuss the types of incidents that make a seaman eligible for damages.

Hiring an Attorney for Unseaworthiness Claims

Gulf of Mexico injury at sea attorneys are knowledgeable and skilled when it comes to filing unseaworthiness claims. These professionals can walk clients through the process to determine eligibility and collect compensation that properly reflects the losses of an injured person or family members who are left behind after a seaman is killed on the job.

It may not be apparent that a vessel is unseaworthy upon first glance. Additional evidence may need to be gathered in order to determine whether the owner of the vessel failed to properly maintain the vessel and equipment used by crew members to protect the safety of everyone on board. Victims of accidents at sea who plan to file an unseaworthiness claim need the assistance of attorneys to prove that an incident occurred due to unseaworthiness of a vessel. After a consultation with a Burwell Nebout Jones Act lawyer, our personal commitment and aggressive representation of your case will be evident.

We’re on your side. Contact us at (281) 645-5000 or email our team to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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18 Wheeler Accident Attorneys

Featured Case

FELA/Worker Injury

A 15-year machinist for Union Pacific Railroad was injured when a locomotive coupled into his blue flagged locomotive in the diesel shop at Union Pacific’s Houston facility. Although the machinist failed to engage the shop derails and acknowledge the track alarm, the contention was that Union Pacific employee took one minute and forty-four second water break during a walk around prior to the coupling.

During this water break, the machinist blue flagged his locomotive and began working. Burwell Nebout filed suit against Union Pacific Railroad in Harris County. After a two-week trial in the 157th District Court in Harris County, the jury awarded the machinist $566,105. The jury determined that Union Pacific Railroad violated the federal regulation that absolutely prohibits coupling into a blue flagged locomotive.