Maritime Law

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Overview

Maritime law is commonly referred to as admiralty law. This type of law involves the laws as well as any past cases that concern legal disputes that have originated on what is known as navigable waters. Generally, navigable waters will be any waters that are commonly used for either foreign or interstate commerce within the United States.

Common Cases

  • Commercial shipping accidents that result in any damage to a vessel or its cargo
  • Any injuries or other damages to seamen
  • Any material spills that are considered hazardous
  • Piracy or other illegal activity
  • Ship vessel liens
  • Wake damages
  • Contracts concerning towage

Maritime Law Cases

It is important to understand that cases that involve maritime law will be heard in a federal court. This is according to the United States Constitution under Article III, Section 2. The United States Congress enacts all maritime laws and has constitutional authority to make laws concerning maritime laws because it involves regulating commerce between states or with other foreign countries. Generally, cases involving shipping cargo will be the primary endeavor committed in oceanic waters. After an accident, a lawsuit can transpire over what party is responsible for the damaged or lost cargo. In cases that involve foreign trade but are still considered to be United States jurisdiction, U.S. laws will still apply. Under these situations, the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act will then be applicable. This law was enacted to limit the ship owner’s responsibility or accountability to $500 per container. Maritime law also governs disputes related to salvage awards. In these cases, maritime law will be used for vessels or other forms of property that have been recovered from the bottom of the sea or from peril. Under maritime law, the party who was responsible for the recovery is entitled to a compensation for undertaking the risk of conducting the salvage.

Hiring an Attorney

Personal injury claims that are under the jurisdiction of maritime law require the special attention of a qualified legal team. An attorney who has experience in maritime law will have the right insight needed to champion for such cases. For example, if you have been injured as a passenger in a cruise ship, you cannot simply file a claim for personal injury as you would if you were a passenger in a bus. Those who have suffered injuries as a passenger in a cruise ship should note that the time limitations to file a claim are stricter in these cases. While in other personal injury cases, most claimants will have up to three years to file a claim, whereas filing for a suit here will only be available for one year. Further, a notice about the incident can be made only within a six-month period. Maritime law concerns a wide range of scenarios. If you have reason to believe that your claim should be filed under maritime law jurisdiction, you should consider speaking to a qualified maritime attorney. In the event that you have been injured while on a vessel, a maritime lawyer can help to ensure that your claim is processed in the correct, timely manner.

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