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Shipowner’s Liability

As America’s premier maritime personal injury firm, Friedman, James & Buchsbaum prides ourselves on the results we receive for our client’s as well as our eagerness to keep you informed every step of the way. We feel it is important to keep our clients informed of their rights and the laws in place so they can effectively judge if they have been harmed through another’s wrongdoing. With the tragedies aboard tourism boats like the duck boat accident in a Missouri lake last year, that unfortunately killed 17 people, it is important to know your rights as a passenger. (You can read the post we had written after the accident here: https://www.friedmanjames.com/duck-boats/)  If you are the victim of an accident while aboard a sea vessel, the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 and Shipowner’s Liability would typically protect the owner of the ship from being bankrupted as a result of the accident, though there are exceptions.

What is the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851?

The Limitation of Liability Act was created to provide protection to the shipowner whenever an accident occurs on navigable waters that results in injury, death, or damage to property. The shipowner’s liability would be limited to the value of the vessel and the freight within. There are exceptions however, if you were injured on aboard a vessel, your claim would not be limited by the cost of the vessel as long as you are able to prove the shipowner had knowledge of the issues that caused the accident. It can be difficult to prove previous knowledge, which is why we recommend hiring a professional, established law firm like Friedman, James & Buchsbaum to ensure no stone is left unturned.

Is Shipowner’s Liability Only Applicable to Tourist Boats?

While we have previously stated an accident aboard a duck boat, the law itself covers any means of sea vessel not simply small boats. In 2010, after BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill, Beyond Petroleum attempted to enact the Limitation of Liability Act, which would’ve capped their payouts to around $75 million.  BP’s cash payment for the spill has now totaled about $3 billion and about $65 billion in total.  BP’s attempt to use the law to their advantage has led many to question the legitimacy of the law and whether or not it should be kept in place.

Why Friedman, James & Buchsbaum?

Our three partners have over 100 years of combined experience, with an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbel. The “AV” rating represents a “testament that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence”. Trust the firm that our fellow attorneys consider to be the obvious choice! Call our New York office, Toll free, at (888)249-5126 for more information or fill out our contact form here: https://www.friedmanjames.com/contact-us/