Maritime Products Liability

Equipment failures and defective products can cause injuries to maritime workers. Product failure means that an item itself caused the injury either by malfunctioning, breaking or otherwise causing damage. For example, a hoisting cable that snaps and breaks while in use could be defective if the equipment was operated properly and it was adequately maintained. The use of defective equipment could place a number of workers at high risk for serious injuries.

Maritime law does allow injured workers to bring legal action against manufacturers in products liability cases. Generally, an item must be for use in the maritime industry to be covered under these legal protections. Injured workers may be able to pursue legal action against a manufacturer or distributor if a defect in the product is found to have caused the accident. Additionally, if the company using the item knew it was defective but did not take the proper steps to correct it, they may also be considered negligent.

Negligent Design

Negligent design is basically a design flaw that is known to be dangerous. The design itself could cause an item to fail or in some way injure someone who is using it, even if they are using it as intended. In some cases, a design flaw can be corrected by the manufacturer by providing a resolution that can be taken in the field. In other cases, the item cannot be adequately fixed, and therefore it should be replaced with a new one.

Implied Warranty

Products are usually expected to be safe for use as long as they are used in the manner in which they were intended. The person using the item must follow the directions and use the product properly. However, if an item is used according to instructions and it causes an injury, the injured party, the manufacturer could be liable for the damages. A manufacturer is responsible for making sure that the products they sell perform as they are supposed to.

Strict Products Liability

Maritime law typically looks at strict products liability when reviewing cases concerning injuries due to dangerous products or equipment. A piece of equipment or any product may be dangerous to those who are using it. In order to bring a potentially successful case against the manufacturer the injured person must be able to show that the product was unreasonably dangerous at the time, it left the manufacturer’s control. This means that the product had a design flaw that could cause a greater risk than those generally assumed by the user in normal circumstances. Also, the manufacturer must include proper warnings of dangers to the user.

If a worker is injured due to a defect in equipment or product, he may bring legal action against the manufacturer. This can be done through maritime law or through traditional negligent design and implied warranty laws. To fall under maritime laws, the court must find that the product was used for marine purposes and that the worker was performing marine-related work. The injured worker could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other costs directly associated with the injury. Punitive damages, such as lost wages and money for pain and suffering, could be compensated in some instances as well.



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