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MARITIME LAW OVERVIEW

Maritime Law, Accidents At Sea, The Jones Act And Admiralty Law All Explained Here

Maritime law is a complex area, but fortunately, there are skilled lawyers to help you navigate it. Many people have a general understanding of how personal injury law works in America. However, the issues, laws, and regulations surrounding personal injury, negligence, and workers' compensation tend to be less commonly understood when boats, cruise ships, oil platforms, and other kinds of ocean-going vessels are introduced into the equation. The good news is that many of these statutes that are on the books today date back to the 1700s, or even earlier – which means that attorneys have been studying these issues for centuries. Many lawyers are well versed in the complicated details of this area, collectively known as maritime, admiralty, or marine law .

In fact, it is interesting that some of the first references to admiralty law  come out of Islamic traditions dating as far back as the times of ancient Rome. In ancient Rome, sailors were typically paid according to the profit of the venture, as well as their rank on the craft. Therefore, the more profit the ship pulled in, the more each person made. However, lower, menial sailors were poorly paid. Islamic law stipulated that sailors were to be given a pre-determined wage, and that they were to receive this money before they left the dock. Of course, part of this contract also stipulated that the sailor would owe money back, should they desert the ship or quit for any other reason.

These laws also mark the first time that cabotage (navigating or shipping goods only along the coast line) was set apart from sailing on the seas. In modern law, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also referred to as the Jones Act , requires that all ships travelling only between U.S. ports must be U.S. boats run by U.S. citizens. It also extends monetary and safety rights for those traveling at sea. (For those of you still wondering, "What is the Jones Act? " please see our helpful article on this subject.)

For the personal injury or negligence victim, the legalities can be complicated, but victims have rights and are often due recompense – for medical bills, for example. However, it is important to seek out a competent maritime law firm  that has a proven track record in winning similar cases. The fact is that a typical generalized firm may not understand the intricacies involved in winning a case based on a tragedy that took place on a watercraft or platform. Admiralty and maritime law  can be quite complex, taking several factors into account, such as:

  • The origin of the vessel
  • Whether the victim is a full-time employee of the company
  • Whether the victim is a paid passenger of the vessel
  • Seaworthiness of the vessel
  • Negligence on the part of the ship owner or operator
  • International and local statutes that regulate navigation and ship building codes

Every country has its own legal jurisdiction, and in most cases, countries have their own local stipulations and precedents. However, international maritime law  has been strengthened over the years, particularly by the United Nations, and the increasing trend towards global trade and commerce.

In most cases, maritime lawyers  are able to pursue and collect the following kinds of financial recompense for victims of accidents on the sea:

  • Maintenance – A maritime attorney  can secure enough money from the ship owner to provide a victim with full living expenses, including rent, utilities, travel, etc.
  • Cure – Admiralty lawyers  can sue for funds to pay for all medical expenses, as long as they improve the victim’s overall ability to function.
  • Personal injury – With the help of a Jones Act lawyer,  a passenger victim on a cruise ship or sea going vessel can sue the owner of a ship for negligence.
  • Liens – If a company is unable to pay damages,a maritime injury attorney  may assist a victim in enforcing a lien against the ship, which must be seized by law enforcement, and be adjudicated in federal court.

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