MARITIME LAW INTRODUCTION
Unless you are a maritime worker or a member of the boating community, you may not realize that injuries and accidents occurring on navigable waters are subject to a different set of laws than those incidents that occur on land. The maritime lawyers at Madalon Law can help you to understand and navigate the complexities of admiralty and maritime law to obtain compensation for damages suffered while participating in maritime activities.
Maritime law is the private law of navigation and shipping. It is a special set of rules governing contract, tort (such as personal injury), and workers’-compensation claims arising from injuries sustained on or over navigable water. This can include incidents that occur on inland waters or at sea. Maritime law regulates such things as shipping, navigation, recreational boating, towing, and commerce on both domestic and international waters. This includes natural seas, lakes, and waterways as well as man-made navigable waters such as canals.
Under maritime law, both crew members and passengers on a vessel are entitled to seek compensation for any injuries that occur there. Damages may include lost wages, medical expenses, and even emotional damages. Many injuries which occur on land but are in some way related to work on marine vessels (or cruise activities) are also within admiralty jurisdiction.
The federal law of admiralty applies to all maritime claims. The “saving to suitors” clause allows parties to bring most maritime cases such as cargo damage, personal injury, and marine vessel collisions to either federal or state court, but the states must still abide by admiralty law in these cases.
MARITIME LAW AND MARITIME EMPLOYEES
Generally, injured parties do not have a right to trial by jury in U.S. admiralty cases. If a personal injury claim is brought by a seaman or maritime worker against an employer or ship owner, however, the Jones Act (also called the Merchant Marine Act) permits jury trials, so these claims may be tried in state courts before juries.
Under maritime law, maritime workers who are injured on the job on ship may receive compensation for their injuries. A ship owner may be held liable for injuries under the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness if the vessel or appliances on it are in any way unseaworthy and caused the injuries.
The Principle of Maintenance and Cure is the maritime equivalent to worker’s compensation. This element of maritime law requires a ship’s owner or employer to compensate a seaman injured on-board for necessary medical care as well as basic living expenses – regardless of who is at fault for the injury. Although not all maritime workers qualify as “seamen” for legal purposes, another element of maritime law, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, provides similar protections for maritime workers whose jobs are related to shipping on navigable waters but who do not work the required percentage of time onboard a vessel to be considered seamen.
Family members who have lost loved ones working as seamen to accidents on navigable waters may receive compensation for their loss under the Death on the High Seas Act. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in the course of employment related to shipping on navigable waters, Madalon Law’s maritime lawyers have the experience and maritime expertise you need to navigate these unique legal complexities and get the compensation you deserve.
MARITIME LAW AND PASSENGERS
Many maritime legal cases involve injuries sustained by passengers on vessels such as cruise ships, charter boats, ferries, and personal watercraft. Owners of these vessels must exercise reasonable care when transporting passengers. If a ship owner’s negligence causes injury, passengers may sue for damages. In general, these suits must be brought within three years, but many cruise lines have fine print on passenger tickets that requires cases between the cruise line and its passengers to be heard under Florida law, which has only a one year statute of limitations. Most cruise line passenger tickets also require that suit be brought in either Miami or Seattle.
If you have suffered injury or loss of a loved one due to an accident on a ship, boat, or while diving, you may be able to receive compensation from the owners of the vessel, dock or marina where you sustained the injury. You may collect damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost earnings.
CONTACT A MARITIME LAWYER TODAY
At Madalon Law, we take every maritime accident seriously, and will work diligently to get you the compensation to which you are entitled. Madalon Law handles cases for the entire State of Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.