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Limitation of Liability Act

Maritime Law involves many different federal acts and regulations which can dictate the terms of recovery as well as the amount of recovery. The Limitation of Liability Act is one such act which attempts to limit damages claims against the owner of a vessel and is frequently used as way to limit liability from large claims. As a victim of an accident which occurs on the high seas or other waterways, you are entitled to recover the amount you deserve for your injuries. If you have any questions regarding the Limitations of Liability Act and what accidents will be subject to the limitations, contact an experienced maritime law professional.

History of the Limitation of Liability Act

The Limitation of Liability Act is part of maritime law which was put into place in 1851 as a way to encourage the growth of American shipping and trade. The Act specifically states that the owner of a vessel may limit damage claim amounts by the current value of the vessel (as well as freight on board), only if the injured party can prove that the owner had knowledge of the problem prior to the accident. The wording of the Act has the potential to severely limit the ability of many injured parties to recover the full amounts which the party could be eligible to receive based on the knowledge of the vessel owner at the time of the accident.

Recovery under the Limitation of Liability Act

Similar to any negligence action, the language of the Limitation of Liability Act often makes it difficult to recover under the act since the injured party must be able to prove the owner of the vessel had knowledge of an unseaworthy condition or other negligence. Court cases have determined that the knowledge of the owner extends to shore-based management as well, and therefore if a member of management was aware of a condition onboard the vessel which could make the vessel “unseaworthy,” the injured party may be able to recover a larger amount. However, if the injured party cannot prove this knowledge, then the shipowner’s liability will be limited to the value of the vessel and freight. This Act has been used to limit recovery on larger accidents such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, although Congressional bills have been introduced to try to circumvent this limitation.

Malley Law Firm | Houston Maritime Lawyer

If you have been injured in a marine vessel accident, do not hesitate to contact experienced maritime law attorney Tony Malley. Tony Malley has a thorough understanding of the Limitation of Liability Act and has helped many clients recover the damages they are entitled to as a result of their injuries. Maritime law has many different types of recovery to choose from as well as different limitations on each form of recovery. Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced professional prior to bringing a claim against a party to be better equipped to handle the claim. Contact our Texas offices today for your initial free consultation.


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