Compensation Under the Public Vessels Act

Injuries aboard public vessels are governed by maritime legislation known as the Public Vessels Act. Public vessels are ships owned or chartered and operated by the United States government, and they’re not used for commercial service.

Ships that fall under the jurisdiction of the act include:

  • Coast Guard vessels
  • Firefighting vessels
  • Marine and wildlife conservation enforcement vessels
  • Public transportation vessels

Public Vessels Act Requirements

Until the passage of the Public Vessels Act in 1925, the federal government had sovereign immunity from injury suits regarding public vessels. Now, the Public Vessels Act permits injury victims to pursue legal action against the government for damages caused by a public vessel of the United States. The act only applies to individuals employed by the government or aboard government operated vessels. The government is allowed all of the limitations and liability exemptions available to the operators, charterers, owners, or agents of vessels.

The requirements that must be met to bring suit under the Public Vessels Act are similar to requirements for other personal injury litigation under general maritime law. Since the act is fault-based, injury victims must demonstrate negligence on the part of the government in order to receive compensation.

Public Vessels Act Rights

If you were injured in an accident involving a government vessel, you may be entitled to compensation under the Public Vessels Act. You can recover damages for all of your accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, future loss of income, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

To protect your interests, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The Public Vessels Act has a statute of limitations of only two years. This means you have just two years from the date of your accident to recover damages.

An experienced maritime injury attorney can help you make sense of these laws, and pursue the compensation you deserve. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.

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