If a sailor sustains injuries while at sea, they have a right to pursue personal injury claims against the vessel owner. However, maritime law or admiralty law, as it is sometimes referred to, is quite complex. One of the hindrances you might encounter while pursuing a personal injury claim following a maritime accident is the Limitation Liability Act.
The act applies to commercial as well as non-commercial vessels like sea-bound vessels, inland water vessels, ferries, cruise ships, lighters and even private recreational crafts like yachts and rowboats.
What was the original purpose of this act?
The Limitation of Liability Act was initially designed to protect vessel owners from financial ruins that are attributable to risks like piracy, bad weather, fatal illnesses, attacks by foreign entities and other hazards. Unfortunately, the law has in recent decades been used in ways it was never originally intended: to protect large corporations from owning up to their negligence.
How can the vessel use the Limitations of Liability Act against you?
There are two ways the defendant can raise the Limitation of Liability Act in response to your claim:
- Firstly, they can seek clarification from the federal district court regarding the validity of your claim within six months of receiving a notice of claim.
- Secondly, they can file a countersuit against you, thus, consolidating all applicable claims into a single lawsuit. Basically, this can impact the amount you will receive in compensation.
If you or someone you love is hurt in a maritime or boating accident, you need to understand how the Liability of Limitations Act can apply to your case. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while pursuing damages for injuries sustained in a maritime accident.