Admiralty and Maritime Law
Admiralty law, also called maritime law, is the body of laws that governs anything that occurs on the ocean. It gives courts in the United States jurisdiction over events that happen to Americnas or by Americans. Admiralty and maritime law could involve personal injury matters, criminal matters or issues of trade and commerce. It is usually federal in nature, and is often influenced by international law, since many treaties exist that govern the ocean.
The seas are a dangerous place to work, and maritime law often covers seamen and other workers who are employed on ships and vessesls. There are several federal laws that affect maritime employment. The Jones Act, or Marine Merchant Act of 1920, gives seamen the right to seek redress in U.S. courts if injured on the job. The Death on the High Seas Act provides a way for family members of loved ones lost at sea to recover for wrongful death. The Long Shore and Harbor Workers Act protects maritime employees who work on the land, like dock workers and crane operators. Maritime lawyers may also represent injured passengers.
Admiralty and maritime lawyers frequently represent the victims of such personal injury matters. They may also advise businesses and companies whose business takes them over water.
Hiring an Admiralty and Maritime Lawyer
Laws surrounding admiralty and maritime matters are complex and specific to the industry, so it's important to hire someone with experience. Experienced maritime lawyers are often called "proctors in admiralty," and many are members of the Maritime Law Association of the United States.