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Maritime Law Glossary O - P

Glossary A - B | Glossary C | Glossary D - F | Glossary G - J | Glossary L -N | Glossary R - S | Glossary T - Z


Offshore Worker – A laborer who workers away from or at some distance from the shore.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act – A federal statute that extends the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act’s coverage to employees working on the Outer Continental Shelf in the exploration and development of natural resources.


Pain and Suffering – Noneconomic damages in torts which compensate an individual for physical discomfort or emotional distress.

Passenger Ship – In the maritime context, a merchant ship with the primary function of transporting people. Passenger ships include cruise ships and ferries.

Pecuniary Loss – A loss of money or of something having monetary value. In a personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff can recover for pecuniary losses caused by a tortfeasor. Similarly, in the maritime context, in certain situations an injured worker may recover for pecuniary losses incurred as a result of an accident, injury or sickness.

Pennsylvania Rule – The principle that a tortfeasor who violates a statute in the process of causing an injury has the burden of showing that the violation did not cause the injury.

Per Diem Allowance – As part of a seaman’s maintenance and cure benefits under the Jones Act, an injured seaman is entitled to receive a reasonable daily “subsistence” allowance to workers. This allowance should cover the worker’s reasonable expenses of room and board until the seaman reaches a point of maximum medical improvement.

Peril of the Sea – When elements at sea are of such a force as to overcome the strength of a ship obeying the normal precautions of good marine practice. In certain instances, a peril of the sea may relieve a vessel from liability for any loss that ensues.

Personal Injury – In a negligence action, any harm caused to a person or an invasion of a personal right. In the workers’ compensation context, a personal injury includes any harm that arises within the scope of employment.

Plaintiff – The party who brings a civil action in a court of law.

Platform – A large structure, located offshore, used in drilling for oil or gas.

Pleading – A formal document filed with the court in which a party in a legal proceeding sets forth or responds to allegations, claims, denials and defenses.

Primary Duty Doctrine – A principle in maritime law that a seaman cannot recover damages if the injury arose from an unseaworthy condition created by the seaman’s breach of a duty.

Products Liability – A manufacturer’s or seller’s tort liability for any damages or injuries suffered by a buyer, user or bystander as a result of a defective product. An action in products liability can be based on a theory of strict liability, negligence or breach of warranty.

Proximate Cause – A cause that is legally sufficient to impose liability on the actor. In order for a cause to be a proximate cause, the act must have directly produced an event.

Public Vessels Act – A federal law enacted in 1925 to provide for claims against the United States for damages caused by one of its vessels.

Punitive Damages – A financial award designed to inflict punishment. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to actual damages when a defendant acts with recklessness, malice or deceit. In maritime law, punitive damages are available under certain statutes to punish an employer or vessel owner for conduct that is clearly in violation of the law.

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