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When Does Maritime Law Become Relevant?

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Hiring a maritime lawyer isn't the most common of choices. There are, however, several highly specific situations that might raise questions about maritime law. If you're facing one of these legal issues, it might be time to consult with a maritime lawyer.

Workplace Injuries under the Jones Act

People who work offshore on ships, oil rigs, fishing boats, and wind farms are as likely as anybody to suffer workplace injuries. There are also scenarios involving work injuries on boats closer to shore. Many of these people work in environments where normal workers' compensation laws don't apply. Instead, their workplace injury cases may go through maritime law under the Jones Act.

Such injury cases function in less modern legal styles. Frequently, injured parties have to directly sue their employers rather than filing workers' compensation claims. This can get even more complicated if the injured worker is a foreign national rather than an American.

Disputes Involving Maritime Companies

Lots of goods travel by sea, and this inevitably leads to disputes. If a company is transporting goods for a third party, the customer might be upset if the shipment disappears or suffers damage. Worse, the damage may have happened while the goods were at sea. You may have to sue under maritime law to obtain compensation for the damaged goods.

Similar issues can emerge in more service-oriented situations. A disgruntled passenger on a cruise ship, for example, might bring a case against the cruise line regarding problems that happened while at sea.

Criminal Charges

Accusations of smuggling and piracy may sound old-timey or far-fetched, but the U.S. government does still bring those charges against real people and even companies. If the interdiction of the alleged offenses took place at sea, you might need to hire a maritime lawyer. This is because state and even federal laws might not apply to a particular case. Instead, a court could adjudicate the matter based on treaties and international laws.

Vessel Transactions

The sale or transfer of a sea-going vessel frequently requires you to transfer a title and file a registration. Notably, there are strict laws regarding the identification of vessels. If a vessel isn't properly registered, authorities may impound both the boat and its cargo.

Accidents and Insurance

A maritime lawyer can also assist you with filing a claim involving an accident at sea. They can help you determine what the jurisdiction for a case should be and how to identify the responsible party. 

For more info, contact a local maritime lawyer