If you ever need proof of the power of big money to influence legislation, there's hardly a better example than The Shipowner's Limitation of Liability Act, 46 U.S.C. 30501, et seq. Conceived to encourage investment in what had been a fledgling shipping industry, the Act allows a shipowner to seek exoneration from or limitation of liability for damages caused by the vessel. That is, if a vessel crashes into a pier injuring passengers, the owner may be able to file a petition in federal court seeking exoneration from or limitation of liability. If the owner can establish that it had no knowledge or privity of the underlying negligence, liability is capped at the post-casualty value of the damaged vessel -- usually not much. Nowadays, and in what I believe was never intended by Congress, the Act is used in recreational settings. In many instances, you'll see the Act raised in marina fires and jet ski accidents where, in my opinion, the Act creates unfair outcomes. Don't let 46 U.S.C. 30501 (The Shipowners' Limitation of Liabilty Act) limit the amount of your recovery, contact Fulweiler llc today to understand your rights, remedies and claims and to make certain you don't miss the Act's many deadlines. FREE initial consultation with a Proctor-In-Admiralty. Call today at 1-800-383-MAYDA (6293).
By John Fulweiler