Third-Party Lawsuits

Third Party Lawsuits Against Other Companies

Marine construction workers are often subcontractors on large construction projects in which case they can sue the general contractor, developer, or property owner for any unsafe conditions at the work site that these entities caused, were aware of, or failed to require subcontractors to take special precautions to guard against. Injured workers can also sue if their injury was caused by the negligence of another contractor at the job site, but they cannot sue their own employers…

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Third Party Lawsuits Against An Employer As A Vessel Owner

If a maritime worker lacks a sufficient connection to a vessel to be considered a seaman, he can still sue the vessel owner for negligence, even if the vessel owner is his employer. This is a dual capacity doctrine in which the employer wears one hat as employer and another hat as vessel owner. If a marine construction worker got hurt boarding his own employer’s derrick barge because of a broken ladder rung, damaged gangway, or missing nonskid, he could still sue his employer in its capacity as vessel owner (not as employer) just as he could sue any third party vessel owner for negligence. This is a very powerful but often overlooked maritime doctrine.

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Third-Party Lawsuits

As a longshoreman you are automatically covered by workers’ compensation (the Longshore Act) which provides limited no-fault benefits (no recovery for pain and suffering). You cannot sue your employer. The only way that you will be fully compensated for a work injury is if you can file a third party lawsuit. This means suing someone other than your employer. Always have a camera in your car to photograph the accident site (which may be gone the next day). I will describe some third party scenarios that exist on the waterfront.

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