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What Is Maritime Law?

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Also known as admiralty law, maritime law is a body of laws, conventions, and treaties that govern nautical matters, including private maritime business, shipping, and crimes or civil offenses that occur on open water. Maritime law is often applied internationally and governs insurance claims involving ships and cargo and disputes between shipowners, seamen, and passengers.

Within the United States, admiralty law also applies to personal injuries to seamen. Some U.S.-specific maritime laws include the principle of maintenance and cure, the Death on the High Seas Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the doctrine of unseaworthiness, and the Jones Act.

If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a maritime accident, these laws can help you recover compensation.

The Jones Act

The Jones Act gives sailors the right to seek damages from the crew, captain, or ship owners in case of injury. To win compensation under the Jones Act, seamen must prove that their injury was caused by the negligence of their employers or the unseaworthiness of the vessels they were working on.

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOSHA)

When you lose a spouse or parent in an international maritime accident, 46 U.S.C. § 761-768 or DOSHA gives you the right to recover compensation. Like Jones Act claims and traditional wrongful death cases, you must prove negligence or show the unseaworthiness of your loved one’s vessel.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

Some employees who work at ports are not covered by the Jones Act. Fortunately, the LHWCA protects these offshore workers. Longshore and harbor workers are entitled to compensation for medical treatment and lost wages after workplace accidents and injuries. The LHWCA is very similar to state workers’ compensation systems.

Maintenance and Cure

The concept of maintenance and cure is an international one that goes back to English common law. Employers must provide employees with maintenance – or food and shelter – while they are on board a ship, and they must continue to provide this maintenance even if the sailor is injured. Employers must also provide cure, which consists of emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, and rehabilitative care.

Recovering Under Maritime Law

Maritime law can be complex, but it is extremely valuable for helping seamen recover after offshore accidents and injuries. Whether you need to consult international laws or federal laws, Daspit Law Firm can help you understand your rights and legal options during a free case review.

Simply call us at (888) 273-1045 or contact us online to put admiralty law and a team of dedicated attorneys on your side.

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