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Maritime Admiralty Lawyer

If you live in the state of Florida, you may have come across the terms maritime law and admiralty law. If you have been involved in an accident or property damage at sea then you definitely are familiar with these terms. Cases filed under these laws generally require the assistance of specialist maritime lawyers who understand the intricacies of the law. Let’s take a look at some of the maritime law basics to understand it better.

What Is Maritime Admiralty Law?

Often used interchangeably, maritime law and admiralty law largely cover disputes, cases, and statutes that originate in navigable waters. Navigable waters are bodies that are generally used for foreign or interstate commerce. These laws cover an array of scenarios that range from legal guidelines on accidents in navigable waters to seamen injuries and hazardous material spill. The law also extends to criminal and piracy activities, towage contracts, liens against ships, and recreational boating. Maritime laws are particularly important for people who work offshore in oil rigs, ships, dredgers, and other vessels. The laws also protect the rights of people employed in shipyards, wharfs, harbors, and shipping terminals. Generally, maritime law falls under the jurisdiction of federal courts and is typically a combination of US and international laws. The combination of these laws dictates the rules and guidelines for all the contract breaches, injuries, and/or criminal offenses that occur in, on, or near navigable waters.

What Incidents Are Covered Under Maritime Laws?

Examples of some of the incidents that are covered under maritime laws are:

  • Shipping accidents that result in damage to vessels and cargo
  • Failure to maintain the standard of care for passengers, staff, or products onboard
  • Piracy
  • Contract fraud
  • Pollution of water bodies due to spillage of hazardous materials
  • Injuries or death of employees onboard due to errors and omissions on behalf of vessel owners
  • Maritime labor regulations

Different Maritime Laws

Maritime laws can be complex and broad-ranging. These are mostly used by maritime workers to protect their rights at sea. Each law has its own statute of limitations. Typically, the statute of limitations under maritime laws are shorter than normal laws and the effected party is expected to act quickly. Here is a list of some of the laws:

The Jones Act

The Act grants employees aboard a ship the right to sue their employers for negligence. A personal injury claim filed under the law should be filed within three years from when the accident occurred or the employee knows or should have known about their injury.

Death on the High Sea Act

The law gives the family or other parties claiming interest on behalf of the victim a right to sue for wrongful death. Under the law, these parties are allowed three years to file wrongful death claims. If claims are filed under local state laws, the statute of limitations can be even shorter.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The law gives shore-based maritime workers working on vessels or at fixed stations near the navigable waters a right to no-fault benefits through their employers. Under this act, the plaintiff is allowed to file a case within a year from the occurrence of the accident to receive legal compensation. As an alternative, maritime workers can also file for a case a year after their initial Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation claim was terminated.

Unseaworthiness

A vessel or a shipowner is mandatorily required to maintain a certain standard of safety onboard. In case an owner fails to do so, employees have the right to legally hold the owners accountable in the court of law. This means that the owner needs to maintain the following standards among other things on the ship or any other vessel:

  • Hire adequate and trained crew who can perform their jobs onboard
  • Employees should be provided with all the tools and equipment necessary for work
  • Safety equipment such as life jackets, beacons, flares, lifeboats, etc should be provided
  • The vessel should be kept in a decent condition and repaired whenever necessary
  • The owner of the ship is responsible for identifying dangers such as lose railing, obstructed walkways, fall hazards, and uncovered holes and promptly fixing them

Maintenance and Cure

Shipowners and employers of maritime workers are required to cover certain costs after a worker gets injured or sick while in the service of the ship. The employer’s obligation typically ends after the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement. In that sense, maintenance refers to the cost of food and housing that the employer is obliged to take responsibility for the worker. On the other hand, cure refers to medical bills that include the cost of transportation during medical visits.

Cruise Line Passenger Cases

Cruise line passenger cases are instances when a passenger onboard a cruise suffers an injury and decides to sue the company. Most cruise lines already use language in their tickets to make customers agree to waive the normal three-year statute of limitations to a year. Therefore, passengers on cruise lines are required to file for legal compensation a year after the accident occurred and should send out a notice to the company within six months.

How much Compensation can You Receive Under Maritime Law?

The compensation a victim can receive under maritime law depends on an array of factors. Some of the factors that determine the value of the compensation are:

  • The strength of the victim’s legal claim
  • Evidence for and against the accident
  • The extent of the victim’s injuries
  • The length and amount of medical care received by the victim due to the accident directly or indirectly
  • The economic hardship that was caused due to the injury
  • Whether or not the injury decreased the victim’s earning potential
  • Whether the accident caused a permanent disability in the victim
  • Whether the accident caused disfigurement or scars
  • The pain, suffering, and other emotional distress caused due to the injury

Accident victims can receive compensation even in case if they are partly at fault and the injury was a mix of the employer’s and the victim’s own negligence.

Why Hire a Maritime Lawyer?

Hiring a maritime attorney can benefit you in the following ways:

  • With a maritime attorney by your side, you can recognize all the categories of compensation that may be available for you. A maritime lawyer does so by helping you identify all the classes you fall in as a worker. This can significantly increase the value of your claim
  • Maritime attorneys also help victims and collect evidence to build a strong case. This aids victim in getting justice in court
  • A maritime attorney considers all the different aspects that can impact your claim. An experienced maritime specialist takes into account the extent of your injuries and their impact on your livelihood and well-being to evaluate the estimated loss. By doing so, the maritime attorney helps you receive the compensation you deserve
  • You can also get a maritime attorney to review your case and get a free consultation. This can help you evaluate the strength of your case and give you a rough idea of the compensation you may receive.
  • Maritime laws can be complex and involve a mix of international and local laws. Only a maritime attorney can understand the intricacies of the system and guide you in receiving the compensation you deserve.

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