Slip and Fall on Ship Deck Results in Paralysis

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on February 24, 2017

ship deckThis case involves a cook that was working aboard a ship. The ship was in the waters near the Gulf of Mexico. As the cook was walking across the deck of the ship, he slipped and fell, hitting his spine against the ship’s railing. He is now paralyzed below the waist. At the time of the accident, the deck of the ship was wet and did not have a non-skid surface. The ship usually was required to sail in rough seas and in high winds. The cook sued the ship’s owner for negligence in not maintaining the deck and failing to provide an adequate non-skid surface on the deck.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Can a cook on board a ship sue the ship’s owner if he slips and falls on a deck that did not have a non-skid surface?

Expert Witness Response

Usually, a ship must have some type of non-skid surface to prevent slip and fall accidents. Since a ship is usually wet, the deck can get very slippery if it is not maintained properly. A ship usually must have some type of non-skid material applied to the deck or else it is very dangerous for people to walk on the deck. An owner of a ship is required to provide a workplace that is safe and free of known hazards. Under maritime law, the owner of a ship may be liable for negligence if they allow a slippery condition to remain on a deck and an injury results from this condition. Maritime slip and fall accidents are covered by a law known as the Jones Act (46 U.S.C. § 688). Under the Jones Act, an employee on a ship can sue the owner of the ship when a dangerous condition on board causes an injury to them. If a ship’s employee wants to bring a claim under the Jones Act for a slip and fall accident, they must prove that the ship’s owner was negligent and created an unsafe workplace. Since the owner of the ship, in this case, had a duty to ensure the safety of the workers by installing a non-skid surface on the deck, they were probably negligent since they did not take appropriate measures to protect the cook and other workers aboard the ship. Since the ship’s owner failed to clean up the excess water collecting on the deck of the vessel and did not properly maintain the ship’s decking, they were probably negligent and are liable for the cook’s injuries in this case.

Contact this expert witness

Find a Business Expert Witness Near You

What State is your case in?

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY