LHWCA Vessel Owner Duties of Care to LHWCA Workers (Part II)
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This is Part 2 of a 2 Part Article. Click here for Part 1: LWHCA 905(b) Vessel Owner Duties
LHWCA - Duties Owed By Vessel Owners to Longshore Act Workers
Generally, Longshore workers may only bring civil lawsuits for personal injuries suffered at work against vessel owners or third parties. A third party is any person or entity whom is legally responsible for the LHWCA employee's injuries other than their employer. This article concerns Longshore Act employees civil lawsuits against vessel owners under Section 905(b) of the LHWCA. These are called "905(b) vessel owner negligence" cases.
2. Active Control Duty
The vessel may be liable if it actively involves itself in the cargo operations and negligently injures a longshoreman.
The vessel may be liable if it fails to exercise due care to avoid exposing longshoremen to harm from hazards they may encounter in areas, or from equipment, under the active control of the vessel during the stevedoring operation.
3. Duty to Intervene
A vessel is at times under a duty to intervene in the stevedore's operations and correct a dangerous condition. This duty arises when:
1) the vessel is aware of the condition,
2) the vessel should realize the condition presents an unreasonable risk of harm to the longshoremen, and
3) the vessel knows that the stevedore, as a result of an obviously improvident judgment, has failed to remedy the situation.
When the vessel should have realized the stevedore company was exposing the Longshoreman to an unreasonable risk of harm there is a duty to intervene. Some courts appear to require the vessel to have played a part in creating the condition or risk of harm.
This article not legal advice. Any resemblance to actual cases and/or vessels is purely by accident. This 905(b) analysis is simplistic in order to achieve clarity. Each Longshore Act vessel owner negligence case case is different and has separate difficulties and/or challenges.
William Turley is a California Maritime Lawyer. Bill was elected President of Consumer Attorneys of San Diego and the Board of Governors of Consumer Attorneys of California. Bill is a San Diego Injury Attorney. His website is the most comprehensive LHWCA website in California. We can help: (619) 234-2833.