Maritime law, tort law, shipowner liability


The 1972 Amendments to the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LWHCA) greatly increased the maximum benefits to be paid to an injured longshoreman by the shipowner and, nullifying two Supreme Court decisions, permitted an injured longshoreman to maintain an action against a shipowner premised upon the "unseaworthiness" of the shipowner's vessel. A finding of "unseaworthiness" would render the shipowner fully liable for any injuries that occurred. As a result of the 1972 Amendments, section 905(b) of the LHWCA provides that an injured longshoreman" can recover damages against a shipowner only upon a showing of negligence. This article identifies and explores the many differing opinions of what constitutes shipowner negligence; analyzes efforts to create a uniform standard of care for shipowners; and finally proposes a standard of care for shipowners.



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