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Click  Deafeating
Limitation of Liability
in Maritime Law, by
Tim Akpinar, From the
February 2006 issue
of Trial magazine,
Posted with
permission of Trial
(February 2006
Copyright The
Association of Trial
Lawyers of America.
Limitation of liability
can arise in a collision
with a commercial
fishing vessel as well
as a jet ski, personal
watercraft or
waverunner accident.
Arkansas, Iowa,
Minnesota, Nebraska,
North Dakota, South

9th District
Alaska, Arizona,
California, Guam,
Hawaii, Idaho,
Montana, Nevada,
Northern Mariana
Islands, Oregon,

10th District
Colorado, Kansas,
New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Utah,

11th District
Alabama, Florida,
District of Columbia
Maintenance & Cure are
the maritime law terms
used to describe
economic damages in the
form of living expenses
and medical expenses.
The U.S. Supreme Court,
in an opinion written by
Justice Clarence Thomas,
ruled that punitive
damages are available
where an employer would
not pay maintenance &
cure. Read more about
the case & the decision,
When a vessel breaks loose from its mooring during a storm and
collides with another vessel, the result is usually a lawsuit. When the
cruise ship Carnival Triumph broke free during an April 2013 storm
in Mobile, Alabama, it collided with another vessel, resulting in a
multimillion dollar lawsuit. See
Carnival Cruise Line sues shipyard.
Click here to see
article from Marine
Officer - Feb/Mar
05 Foreign
Seafarers of the
Third World, by
Tim Akpinar,
which contrasts
conditions faced
by foreign seamen
injured at sea with
U.S. seamen
working aboard
commercial ships
under the U.S. flag
Mandatory Safety Exams for
commercial fishing vessels operating
more than three (3) nautical miles
offshore. See
maritime law updates for
commercial fishing. These regulatory
measures should enhance the
survivability of vessel crews following a
sinking or serious accident at sea.
Maritime Law
Ocean Mariners - Commercial Fishermen - Tugboats - Sailboats - Yacht Crews - Riverboats - Divers - Jones Act
One of the oddest
quirks of maritime law
that an experienced
maritime attorney might
come up against is
limitation of liability.
The City of New York
played hardball with
the plaintiffs in the
Staten Island Ferry
accident of October
2003, playing the
limitation card in an
attempt to limit
personal injury and
wrongful death awards.
It wasn't successful though,
largely due to conclusions
made by the National
Transportation Safety
Administraton. Tim covered
this arcane concept for the
Association of Trial Lawyers
of America, featured in the
February 2006 issue of their
journal, Trial Magazine.
Follow the link below to
learn more and read the
article in its entirety.
(reprinted with the
permission of the
Association of Trial Lawyers
of America.
One of the most fundamental laws covering
the the Jones Act. On U.S. flag vessels, this
affects seamen, which includes  tugboat
riverboat barge crews, paid yacht crews,
jack-up oil rig crews, commercial divers,
crews of deep sea ocean going cargo ships,
passenger ships, offshore vessels and other
seagoing employees. It also includes ferry
boat, excursion, and tour boat crews, water
taxis and other marine employees.

Recreational Boating Accidents covers
claimants injured on or by motorboats,
sailboats, jet-skis, waverunners and other
personal watercraft, windsurfers, kayaks,
canoes, as owners, guests, unpaid race
crews, recreational divers, or swimmers.

Commercial Divers, Longshoremen and
Shipyard Workers covers commercial divers,
longshoremen, mechanics, welders, harbor
welders, harbor pilots, and shore side
employees. It also could include hard hat,
oil field and salvage (commercial) diving
claims not covered under the Jones Act.

General Overview of Claimants in Marine
Injury Cases
 If you were injured at sea, it’s
likely that maritime law will enter the picture.
Your status aboard a vessel will determine
applicable law, depending on whether you
were a towboat engineer, tankerman,
commercial fishing boat mate, shore side
welder, passenger, commercial diver, or
kayaker. Boating accidents on navigable
waters often involve maritime law.

Jones Act: The Jones Act covers seamen
injured as a result of the employer’s
negligence. Seaman loosely means crew
member. See Commercial Vessels
. Seaman
could be a tugboat deckhand, dinner cruise
boat mate, commercial fisherman, tanker
captain, cruise ship steward, or megayacht

Recreational Boating Accidents: If someone
is injured in a pleasure boat accident, the
action could be based upon negligence. See
Recreational Boating Accidents

Longshoreman and Harbor Workers
Compensation Act: The LHWCA covers
compensation and liability for employees
injured in the course of maritime
employment who are not seamen. Covered
persons include welders, mechanics,
stevedores, harbor pilots and non-seaman
divers. See
Commercial Divers,
Longshoremen and Shipyard Workers . This
page has links to the Defense Base Act and
War Hazards Compensation Act. These
apply to an employee injured on a military
base or combat area or war zone.
After the tragic 2003 Staten Island Ferry accident, the City of New
York played hardball with the injury and wrongful death victims
with a maritime law tactic that dates back to the 1800s - read more
to the right.
Some differences are the
absence of laws such as the
Jones Act, Death on the High
Seas Act, or fair application of
concepts such as
unseaworthiness, negligence,
compensation for personal
injury when someone is injured
at sea, and maintenance and
1st  District
Maine, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, Rhode
Island and Puerto Rico

2nd District
Connecticut, New
York, Vermont

3rd  District
Delaware, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Virgin

4th  District
Maryland, North
Carolina, South
Carolina, Virginia,
West Virginia

5th District
Mississippi, Texas

6th District
Kentucky, Michigan,
Ohio, Tennessee
Unseaworthiness: This cause of action is based upon vessel owner’s implied warranty that
a vessel is reasonably fit for its intended use. See  Commercial Mariners .

Product Liability: If someone is injured as a result of a defective product, recovery would
be based upon product liability theory. See Commercial Mariners .

If you were injured in the course of a commercial vessel or recreational boating accident,
call for a free and confidential consultation. If we are able to handle your injury case, there
is no fee unless we are successful.
When the ferry Andrew
struck a pier in
October 2003, killing 11
people, passengers
were unaware of an
arcane concept of
maritime law known as
limitation of liability.
They soon saw how a
law meant to protect
shipowners during the
age of sail was
invoked to prevent
them from achieving a
full and fair recovery
for their

Under the Limitation of
Shipowners’ Liability
Act of 1851, a
shipowner may limit
liability for losses from
negligence or
unseaworthiness arising..."
If someone is involved
in a maritime accident
as a Jones Act seaman
aboard a tugboat,
passenger ship, fishing
trawler or other
commercial vessel, or
as an injury plaintiff in a
recreational boating, jet
ski, waverunner,
personal watercraft,
diving, canoeing,
kayaking, or swimming
accident, and the case
proceeds to federal
court under maritime
law, the injuries and
damages could be
litigated in one the
following Federal
District Courts