injured by a product on a vessel

Injured on a Vessel by Defective Products

Maritime employers and employees are bound by different laws than those who work in other fields. Traditional workers’ compensation laws do not apply, so if you are injured while working in a maritime role, it’s important to know your rights.

If you’ve been injured while working aboard a vessel, the team at Fuquay Law Firm can help you fight for the compensation you’re owed. Schedule a consultation now by calling us at 251-219-0329.


First, it’s important to know that there are many types of defects that may happen. The details of your specific injury play a big role in determining who is responsible and who must pay your damages.

However, in the majority of cases, manufacturers are held liable for damage caused by defective products and equipment. This is the standard outcome under maritime law. Manufacturers have an obligation to test products thoroughly for defects and repair any defects before equipment makes its way to consumers.


There are situations in which the distributor has some liability if a defective product causes injury. In a case where the distributor knew or should have known that the product was defective, they may be held liable if that product causes injuries.


Sometimes, employers are held partially liable for defective products that cause injury to employees. If they are expected to maintain a certain maintenance and inspection schedule but fail to do so, they could be held responsible for any injuries that occur because of their negligence.

Different Types of Product Defects

Due to the wide variety of products and equipment used on maritime vessels, there are types of product defects. These include:

  • Improperly labeled products, as this may cause them to be misused or improperly maintained
  • Products that have a design flaw
  • Products that have been put together in an unsafe or incorrect way
  • Unsafe installation instructions
  • Unsafe when used with other components

Defective Product Liability

There are several laws that are used to determine liability and allow injured maritime workers to seek compensation. Some relevant concepts and laws include:

  • Negligent design. When products have an inherent design flaw, it does not matter how safely or correctly they are manufactured. All products made from an unsafe design are unsafe, due to an error on the designer’s part. Design flaws that cause the item to break or cause injury to employees should be rectified before the product is ever manufactured. In some situations, designers can get around a design flaw by instructing people how to use the product without triggering the defect. In others, a product must be completely redesigned.
  • Implied warranty. An “implied warranty” is the idea that products are expected to remain safe as long as they are used in the correct manner. This protects manufacturers from injuries caused by using products in an unintended manner. Consider scissors, for example. They have a specific intended use—to cut paper. If someone intentionally stabs themselves with a pair of scissors, they are unlikely to recover any compensation from the scissors company, because they used it in an unintended manner. However, if someone is trying to cut paper and the scissors slice a finger halfway off, they may then have a claim. Manufacturers have a responsibility to customers to ensure that their products work in the way they are supposed to.
  • Strict products liability. This relates to products and equipment that are inherently dangerous to users. This concept is applicable to many defective product injuries in the maritime field, as much of the equipment used in this industry is dangerous—if it were not, it would not do the job it was designed for. For a claim against a dangerous product to be successful, the user must prove that the product was unreasonably A manufacturer could also be liable if it did not warn users of the dangers of the product.

Call Fuquay Law Firm for Help with Your Maritime Injury Claim

If you’ve been injured by a defective product while working aboard a vessel, you may have a maritime injury claim. These claims can help you get the medical care you need and recover lost wages. To learn more about your options, call us at 251-219-0329 or contact our team online.

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