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Maritime/Offshore Injury

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Public Vessels Act

The United States Constitution was instrumental in many things: it established a system of government for a new, fledgling country, and additionally established a uniform set of federal laws. Maritime law was enacted as part of this new Constitution and the sovereign immunity of the United States was made part of the Constitution. However, based on the Public Vessels Act, the sovereign immunity of the United States no longer extends to maritime lawsuits regarding incidents caused by public vessels. If you have been injured in an accident involving a public vessel, contact an experienced maritime professional who can determine the recovery you are entitled to receive.

The Public Vessels Act

The Public Vessels Act allows for injured parties to recover against public vessels, where previously the United States enjoyed sovereign immunity from such actions. A public vessel includes ships owned and operated by the United States. However, individuals who were injured in accidents caused by public vessels were left without a cause of action for decades prior to the implementation of the Public Vessels Act. This left a vast hole in maritime law since seaman aboard commercial vessels were able to recover for injuries sustained while in the course of their duties, while government employees and civilians were unable to recovery amounts since they were unable to bring an action against the United States. Therefore, the Public Vessels Act served an important role once implemented and allowed government employees the right to recover for damages incurred during accidents aboard government vessels.

Recovery Under the Public Vessels Act

The Public Vessels Act makes recovery possible for government employees after an incident involving a public vessel. However, the Act only applies when individuals are employed by the government or are onboard government operated vessels. Individuals who are employed by commercial vessels are covered under other maritime law acts, and therefore the Public Vessels Act will not extend to these injuries. As a federal law, claims stemming from a public vessels action must be brought in a federal court rather than state court.

An experienced maritime law attorney will be able to best advise you regarding the potential claims you may have against the government entity in operation of the vessel.

Malley Law Firm | Houston Maritime Lawyer

If you have been injured while onboard a government operated public vessels, your injuries may fall within the Public Vessels Act. Attorney Tony Malley has years of experience in assisting clients to gain the full amount of compensation they are entitled to for their injuries. Vessel accidents can be as severe as major shipwreck catastrophes or as small as slips and falls onboard the vessel. However, regardless of the size of the incident, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries in the same manner as any employee would be entitled to compensation for their employer’s negligent work conditions. If you believe you have a claim against a public vessel, do not hesitate to contact Tony Malley. Contact our Texas offices today to set up your initial free consultation.


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