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Unseaworthiness Claims Attorney

Unseaworthiness Claims Attorney

California Maritime Lawyer Preston Easley Assists Crew and Passengers Injured Due to the Negligence of a Vessel Owner or Captain With Unseaworthiness Claims in CA and HI

The word “unseaworthiness” may conjure up images of an old boat with holes leaking in its hull, obviously unfit to leave port. However, in legal terms, the concept of unseaworthiness is much more subtle and covers more than just the structural seaworthiness of the vessel itself.

In maritime law, an unseaworthy vessel is defined as any fishing boat, cruise ship, yacht, barge, etc. with unsafe conditions on board. Unseaworthiness doesn’t mean that the ship is liable to sink as soon as it ventures into the open seas, and in fact this rarely happens. More often, an unseaworthy vessel is one that causes any injury to its crew or passengers, as the result of the negligence of the vessel’s owner or captain.

Maritime Accident Lawyer Preston Easley is a Graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. You Can Rely on His Expertise in Maritime Law to Protect Your Rights. Contact Him Today For a Free Consultation About Your Case.

Shipowner’s Obligations to Maintain Seaworthiness

A long list of defects and oversights can classify a vessel as unseaworthy in the eyes of the law.  A few examples of shipowner’s obligations include:

  • The ship structurally must be in good shape, with no leaks or obvious mechanical flaws; the failure of the ship’s owner or captain to keep the vessel properly maintained can expose him to damages in the event of injury or death.
  • All baggage and equipment on the ship should be properly stowed, so as not to tumble onto the heads of passengers or crew if the vessel suddenly lists.
  • Floors and decks should be kept reasonably slip-proof.
  • Toxic chemicals, including cleaning supplies, and combustibles materials must be properly sealed and secured containers.
  • There should be no unsafe materials (like asbestos) be used in the vessel’s construction.

Unseaworthiness claims can also apply if a vessel isn’t properly outfitted for the task at hand:

  • Barges and tugs should be equipped with the necessary ropes, pulleys and winches, and passenger ships with personal flotation devices and, if necessary, life rafts.
  • All ships should be outfitted with minimal first-aid gear or facilities, working radios, and (if circumstances apply) sanitary kitchens and habitable passenger or crew compartments.

Finally, a ship can be deemed unseaworthy if it isn’t properly crewed, or if the crew is insufficiently trained or equipped for their jobs. The lack of an adequate number of deck hands can expose passengers, and other crew members, to unnecessary risks, and an untrained or poorly trained crew can be equally dangerous both to themselves and to non-crew members. In addition, the captain is responsible for making sure that his crew is alert, sober and ready for action; an accident caused by an inebriated crew member can be sufficient grounds for a claim of unseaworthiness.

Unseaworthiness Claims vs. Jones Act

Unseaworthiness Claims are made against the owner of the vessel.  Claims under the Jones Act are filed against a seaman’s employer.

Unseaworthy Vessel Claims Attorney

Free Consultation – Serving Hawaii and California

Because “unseaworthiness” is so broadly defined, it’s important to hire a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of maritime law, including claims of Unseaworthiness and the Jones Act, which applies to compensation claims filed by marine workers. What seems like a simple, unavoidable accident to you may in fact have been the result of a negligently maintained ship, an improperly trained crew member, or a missing or damaged piece of equipment — any of which may entitle you to compensation under a claim of unseaworthiness.

Attorney Easley is an experienced maritime accident trial lawyer that has been represented injured seamen including longshoremen, shipyard workers, tugboat crewmen, dredge crewmen, pile drivers, marine construction workers, merchant seaman and tour boat/recreational boat crews and passengers.

For a free initial consultation, call (310) 832-5315 to discuss your case or use the Contact Form on this website to share your story.

San Pedro, CA 90731 (310) 832-5315
San Diego, CA (619) 699-4884
Ventura, CA (805) 289-1551
Honolulu, HI (808) 922-2383 

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Cases We Handle

  • maritime worker working on ship

    Longshoremen & Shipyard Workers

    Longshoring and shipyard work are very dangerous occupations. Workers in these fields, along with marine construction workers, are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, a very generous no-fault workers’ compensation system. It covers medical expenses, temporary disability, permanent disability and vocational rehabilitation.

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  • sea vessel docked at US shore

    Jones Act Seamen

    A seaman is a member of the crew of a vessel or group of vessels under common ownership or control. The vessel can be anything from a raft to a cargo ship. We represent seamen who work aboard recreational vessels, tugboats, dredges, barges, skiffs, workboats and cargo ships. We also represent seamen who are marine construction workers

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  • Diving

    We represent people who have been injured in SCUBA diving accidents and Commercial diving accidents. We also handle diving boat accidents. Diving can be very dangerous. We successfully represented a commercial diver who was seriously injured while cleaning the propeller of a U.S. Navy ship at Pearl Harbor

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  • accident at construction site and hard hat on floor

    Construction & Industrial Accidents

    Construction and industrial sites can be very dangerous. Although you generally cannot sue your own employer for a construction site or industrial accident (generally workers’ compensation is your exclusive remedy against your employer) there are many circumstances in which you can file a third party lawsuit against an entity other than your employer for an unsafe condition at a work site which causes you to be injured

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  • Forklift and Crane Injuries Lawyer

    Crane & Forklift Accidents

    The Easley firm has extensive experience with crane and forklift accidents and workplace accidents involving dangerous equipment and machinery. These accidents can be caused by operator error and they can be caused by the unsafe and defective condition of the equipment

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  • auto accident involving two cars on a city street

    Motor Vehicle & Truck Accidents

    Motor vehicle accidents can result in serious injury and death. These kinds of accidents can involve automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and unsafe road design and unsafe road conditions

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  • Catamaran Injuries Attorney

    Passenger Vessel Accidents

    Passenger accidents are common on recreational vessels, catamarans, tour boats and cruise ships.  They are frequently caused by rough sea conditions and unsafe conditions aboard the vessels.  The Easley firm has extensive experience in the field of maritime law.  We have made new law in the field of maritime law with numerous precedent setting decisions in the State Appellate Courts, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court

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  • Defense Base Act

    The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act which covers civilian employees of U.S. defense contractors injured overseas, including war zones. The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensations Act as extended by the Defense Base Act is a very generous no fault workers’ compensation system

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Areas Where We Practice

Preston Easley is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He served five years of active duty as a Naval officer — three years as a deck officer on a fast frigate and two years as a patrol boat skipper. Mr. Easley also served aboard a tank landing ship in the reserves.




Let Us Get You The Compensation You Deserve

Preston Easley is an experienced lawyer with considerable expertise in handling federal and state personal injury cases. He will aggressively seek the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. Attorney Easley represents victims of serious and fatal accidents involving cars, trucks, construction projects and maritime work.

Construction Workers We Help

  • Crane and Forklift Operators
  • Pile Drivers
  • Scaffold Workers
  • Iron Workers
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Operating Engineers
  • Electricians

Maritime Workers We Help

  • National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) Shipyard Workers
  • Manson Construction Company Workers
  • Manson Dredging Workers
  • Dutra Dredging Workers
  • Commercial Divers
  • Scuba Divers
  • Commercial Fisherman
  • Government Maritime Claims Against the Navy, Army Corps of Engineers, or the US Coast Guard, etc.
  • Marine Construction Workers
  • Offshore Oil and Gas Workers
  • Seamen
  • Shipyard Workers
  • YYK Enterprises, Inc.
  • Pacific Tugboat Service
  • Long Beach Container Terminal
  • Tugboat, Dredge, Longshoremen, and Ferry Workers
  • Barge Crews and Barge Workers
  • Marisco Limited
  • HL Welding
  • SSA Marine
  • Catalina Express
  • R.E. State Engineering
  • Shimmick Construction
  • Nova Group
  • American Scaffolding
  • Safway Scaffolding
  • Kirby Tugs
  • Crowley Tugboats
  • P&R Water Taxi
  • Continental Maritime
  • Pacific Ship Repair
  • Seaward Marine
  • Healy Tibbitts
  • General Construction
  • BAE Shipyards
  • South Coast Welding
  • Matson
  • Pasha
  • Hawaii Stevedores, Inc.
  • McCabe, Hamilton & Renny
  • Young Brothers
  • Sause Bros.
  • Foss Maritime
  • Fenix Marine Services
  • ITS
  • Total Terminals
  • TraPac
  • PCMC
  • Maersk
  • Yang Ming
  • China Overseas Shipping
  • Evergreen

Boating Accidents

  • Catamaran Accidents
  • Charter and Tour Boats
  • Cruise Ship Accidents
  • Passenger Accidents
  • Jet Ski and Personal Watercraft
  • Motorboat Accidents
  • Recreational Accidents
  • Scuba Diving Accidents
  • Speed Boat Accidents
  • Yachts and Sail Boat Accidents
  • Repair Accidents
  • Crew Accidents
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