Though the Jones Act was enacted to provide a level of protection for workers at seas from negligent ship owners and corporations, a separate act that was brought into place during the 19th century has been prevalently used by companies to absolve any responsibility when an injury occurs. The Limitation of Liability Act has been used by employers to reduce the amount of compensation they would have to pay in the event of a tragic accident, even if the mishap was due to negligence or poor care on the employer’s part. The following outlines what is covered by this act, and the ways you can fight against it in the tragic circumstance that you find yourself injured while working at sea.
What Does It Do?
As the name suggests, this at limits the maximum liability that an individual is responsible for in the event that one of his passengers or workers is injured, regardless if that injury was caused by negligence or not. In other words, the amount of monetary compensation that one must provide is limited to a max number which is usually the same as the worth of the vessel on which the accident took place.
What’s scary is that even if the injury has resulted in a death, the act can still limit the maximum amount owed to the family of the deceased. In addition, if the vessel has sunk or has been severely damaged, the defendant owes absolutely no compensation (this is because the worth of the vessel in this situation would be zero).
When Can it be Applied?
The act can be applied in a number of situations and for practically any vessel. According to Charles McCorquodale Law, owners of a vessel will attempt to file for this claim as soon as disaster has struck, so it is imperative for you to contact your own lawyer to give a response. According to courts will only give the affected individual a week after the defendant has filed for Limitation of Liability to respond.
However, for this to be applied, the clause has to be enforceable. In cases where there is a policy in place that inhibits the enforcement of this clause or in circumstances where there is an obvious imbalance in terms of bargaining power between the two parties.
What to Do If You’re Involved in Such a Claim
If you’re the individual who has sustained injuries, then it is important to act quickly; contacting a professional maritime lawyer is the best course of action as they can write a detailed answer to the claim and hope to override the petition. This way, you can be guaranteed that you will get the adequate compensation that you deserve.
If you’re a defendant who is attempting to utilize this clause, then it is important to be clear and concise when writing up drafts, ensuring that any revisions done to the project are worthwhile. If your petition is thrown away, then it is important to ensure that you have proper insurance coverage to cover any costs.