What Is a Maritime Lawyer? A Detailed Explanation

A maritime lawyer specializes in injuries and accidents related to maritime activities, including both recreational and commercial incidents.

They protect individuals involved in boating accidents and maritime injuries, handling legal matters such as court cases, document drafting, negotiations, and addressing complaints about injuries caused by marine vessels or hazardous waste dumping.

What is a Maritime lawyer
A maritime lawyer specializes in laws concerning commerce, navigation, and maritime issues, including injuries, accidents, damages, employment, vessel construction, and admiralty: Photo source (FindLaw)

What Is Maritime Law

Maritime law, or admiralty law, stands as one of the oldest legal branches, predating the constitution.

It pertains to commerce and navigation on the high seas and other navigable waters, administered by admiralty courts.

Maritime law governs U.S. and international regulations on torts, injuries, contracts, and offenses in or near navigable waters.

What Does a Maritime Lawyer Need To Know

Navigating maritime law requires a deep understanding of international, federal, and state laws, making it a complex field.

Proficiency in various aspects such as marine insurance, marine pollution, and employee compensation (Jones Act) is essential for maritime lawyers.

Familiarity with foreign corruption and comprehension of anti-bribery provisions outlined by the United States Department of Justice are also crucial aspects of their expertise.

What Is The Jones Act?

The Jones Act, established by the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, governs the shipment of goods within the United States.

It focuses on individuals employed at sea and mandates that employers take responsibility for workers injured while on duty at sea.

Those covered by the Jones Act are entitled not only to compensation for pain and suffering but also for the reimbursement of all lost income due to the incident.

Compensation Claims For a Maritime Injury

A maritime injury claim, akin to workers’ compensation, often yields larger settlements due to the heightened risks of sea work.

If you qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, a maritime injury on the job can lead to compensation for lost income (current and future), healthcare expenses, physical and mental impairments, treatments, rehabilitation, pain, mental distress, and related costs.

Who Is Covered Under The Jones Act?

The Jones Act protects seamen injured while working. To qualify, a worker must spend at least 30% of their time on board a navigating vessel.

With 30% of their time on a vessel, the worker is eligible for Jones Act coverage, even if 70% is spent on land.

Read more: How much does a lawyer cost for tenant eviction

Common Causes Of Maritime Injury

Slip and fall injuries, constituting over 40% of maritime incidents, prevail on vessels, as per OSHA, amid diverse maritime law aspects.

Given the prevalence of wet surfaces on sea vessels, this is not surprising. Employers should prioritize training to prevent such accidents.

Other common maritime injuries include exposure to hazardous chemicals, toxic respiratory agents, working in confined spaces, lifting heavy objects, repetitive movements, and working near potentially harmful machinery (CDC, 2020).

What Should I Do After a Maritime Injury

After any injury, including maritime incidents, the first crucial step is seeking medical treatment.

Recording your condition, regardless of legal intentions, is crucial for potential future actions and grasping the full extent of injuries.

If possible, take photos of the vessel and work area immediately after the accident.

Take pictures of the injury location, surroundings, and equipment for thorough documentation, regardless of immediate legal considerations.