There are specific laws governing the shipping practices and other maritime activities on which our country’s economy relies. At SteinLaw, our team of legal professionals is committed to fully addressing our clients’ needs and obtaining maximum compensation for injuries. If you’re involved in a maritime industry or work at sea, it’s important to know your rights in case of an injury and have basic understandings of admiralty and maritime laws.
What Is Admiralty Law?
Admiralty law extends to shipping practices. An admiralty dispute may result from contractual disagreements or other disagreements that arise from shipping operations. Today, admiralty law is synonymous with maritime law, which describes all laws pertaining to seafaring vessels.
If you become entangled in a legal dispute involving ships or shipping, your legal proceedings will likely fall under the purview of maritime or admiralty law. Maritime law covers all legal actions involving shipbuilding, navigation, shipping operations, crewing, and any other incident or activity involving ships.
Maritime law may involve shipping laws, which pertain to shipping activities taking place at sea, or contractual disputes. If you are an employee of a shipping company and were injured on the job, there are a few things to consider before pursuing a lawsuit for your damages.
How to Pursue Damages Under Maritime Law
Maritime law extends to seamen and every other employee working on or near the sea. The law defines anyone who spends the majority of his or her working time aboard a seafaring vessel as a seaman. Other employees of shipping companies who work near the water but not always onboard vessels are not considered seamen. A special set of laws known as The Jones Act provides injured seamen with the right to sue their employers for damages resulting from an injury.
Unlike other industries’ employees, seamen do not have access to workers’ compensation benefits. Since injured seamen cannot file for workers’ compensation, their only option for compensation following an injury is to sue their employer for personal injury damages. Employers of seamen must provide their employees with reasonably safe working accommodations and take reasonable care to maintain the safety of their vessels.
Employers of seamen may be held liable for injuries that result from:
- Poor equipment maintenance. Employers must properly maintain all structures, machinery, and other equipment onboard vessels.
- Substandard or ineffective employee training. Employers must properly train crew and seamen how to perform their jobs, give thorough safety training, and instruct workers on proper conduct aboard vessels.
- Workplace hazards. Employers must address known safety concerns in a timely manner.
- Unsafe workplace conduct. Makeshift equipment, unsafe or unapproved work methods or other unsafe conduct can all lead to injuries.
- Failure to provide necessary equipment. Employers must furnish their employees with all the equipment necessary for them to perform their job duties, as well as emergency devices such as lifeboats, life preservers, and other safety equipment.
- Negligence. If employers fail to exercise reasonable care while aboard, their breach of duty can result in employee injuries.
Evaluate Your Options
The Jones Act provides ample protection for employees injured at sea, but maritime law cases can quickly grow into complex and frustrating affairs. One of the best things you can do once you’ve dealt with the immediate effects of a workplace injury at sea is to contact an attorney with experience in Maritime Law.
The SteinLaw firm is committed to maximizing every client’s recovery after an injury. If you’ve been injured at sea and live in Florida, reach out to the team at SteinLaw for a free consultation. We’ll discuss the details of your case and let you know what types of compensation you might expect.