Is your case covered by maritime law?
After a maritime accident, it can be confusing to determine your legal rights. There are various laws that protect those who work and travel at sea, and it can be hard to determine which law pertains to your case. How do you know if your case falls under the jurisdiction of maritime law?
What does maritime law cover?
Maritime means “connected with the sea” and maritime law covers such matters as marine commerce, fishing, navigation, shipping, the transport of goods and passengers by sea, and the rights of those who work at sea.
Who does maritime law cover?
Maritime law covers those who work at sea and those who are passengers on seagoing vessels. Workers who are injured while working on a vessel in navigable waters are covered by the Jones Act. Jobs at sea include commercial fisherman, cruise ship employees, sailors, divers, merchant marines, tug boat operators, and even oil rig workers. Shipyard workers and longshoremen are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Workers on government owned vessels may be covered by the Suits in Admiralty Act or the Public Vessels Act.
What vessels are covered by maritime law?
Vessels that transport goods and passengers over navigable waters are covered under maritime law. Traditionally, some of the features that may define vessels are navigational aids, lifeboats or life saving equipment, a raked bow, bilge pumps, crew quarters or Coast Guard registration. This description includes cargo ships, barges, tug boats, tour boats and cruise ships. However, the definition of vessel also includes such special purpose vessels as floating dormitories, jack-up and semi-submersible rigs, mobile offshore drilling units, dredges, and pontoon rafts. In 2005, the United States Court redefined the term vessel as including “every description of Watercraft or other artificial contrivance used or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.” A vessel is not required to be self-propelled; docks, tension leg platforms and floating work platforms, and even floating casinos may qualify in many cases.
The Jones Act is a federal act that protects workers injured while at sea. If you are an employee injured aboard a vessel, the law can be confusing. An experience Jones Act Lawyer can best help to determine your rights to compensation.
Do cruise ship passengers have rights under maritime law?
If a passenger is injured while close to shore, they are under the jurisdiction of that state and subject to that state’s laws. However, if a cruise ship is three or more miles out to sea, passengers are under the jurisdiction of international maritime law.
However, legal liability is often limited to a very short time period following a cruise. Because the laws at sea are different from those on land, these cases are best represented by a lawyer with expertise in maritime law.
Have you been injured while at sea?
If you believe your case is covered by maritime law, contact the attorneys at the New Orleans office of The Young Firm to discuss your case. Our experienced Maritime law specialists and Jones Law attorneys will help you.
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