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New law aims to change maritime liability, address 2019 disaster

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2021 | Maritime Law |

A bill sponsored by California lawmakers Rep. Salud Carbajal and Sen. Dianne Feinstein would change a maritime liability law that many claim is outdated.

The law would update the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, which restricts the liability of boat owners to the value of the vessel after an accident. The law originated in 18th century England, a time when the government there was trying to nurture the shipping industry. Critics of the law have long decried it as a relic of the past.

The legislation comes on the heels of the 2019 Conception boat disaster that left 34 people dead. Under the current law, the boat owners have almost no liability because the vessel was totally destroyed in the accident. The new law would retroactively apply to the Conception and create greater legal recourse for victims’ families going forward.

Proponents of the bill say it will allow victims of maritime accidents to recover compensation for their injuries by making it easier for them to hold the owners of vessels liable.

Maritime law is difficult to navigate

Even in the 21st century, much of maritime law has its origins in the distant past. For this reason, maritime laws are difficult to navigate, even for those that work in the industry. Furthermore, the penalties and fines for violators can be extreme.

The above reasons are why its critical to have a maritime lawyer by your side to ensure you’re in compliance. Additionally, a lawyer can provide a vigorous defense of your rights in a court of law, protecting your interests and reputation.

If cost is a concern, many lawyers offer a free initial consultation at no out-of-cost to the client.

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