Slippery Boatdecks

I came across an interesting case recently- it involved a ship deckhand who slipped on a vessel he was helping to load; apparently, he slipped on a mixture of slick oil and water and sustained serious back injuries as a result.

He sued the shipowner [apparently not his employer and therefore not precluded by worker's compensation laws], alleging that the ship had nonskid walkways along its length , but not along its width. He further contended that the ship could have coated the entire deck with nonskid paint.

This case went to trial and the jury found the ship owner and manager 70% at fault and plaintiff 30% at fault. This finding was interesting since most people quickly conclude that persons walking carefully and reasonably do not slip/trip and fall- this jury, however, also concluded that it was still the responsibility of the owner/manager of the "property" to insure that an unsafe condition did not exist or, if an unsafe condition could not be completely alleviated, that steps were taken to lessen the risk by taking certain remedial safety measures, i.e., nonskid walkways over the whole deck and/or nonskid paint.

Once again, the creativity of the attorneys representing plaintiff, combined with ever-improving industry safety standards, allowed plaintiff to prevail here.

At Harris & Associates, we are happy to meet with you to discuss your legal rights and also offer you advice to best insure that you are protected.