Maritime injuries include a multitude of incidents, accidents and occurrences on the high seas or other navigable waterways or waterbodies across the globe. Given the relatively unique nature of the jurisdiction in question, the sea predominantly, many nuances to personal injury and negligence claims under maritime or admiralty laws exist. To begin, all injuries sustained while on the high seas, or as part of maritime-related employment, as well as any injuries sustained in domestic or continental waterways are subject to jurisdictional considerations under admiralty law. In virtually all US maritime injury claims cases, the initial trial venue is federal district courts, save for limited cases whereby state jurisdiction may prove more applicable.
The following outlines the four main categories of individuals who have rights if they are injured at sea, including seamen or fishermen, longshoremen or harbor workers, passengers or business invitees. Depending on the legally defined category of person injured, their type of injury, the jurisdiction of the incident causing injury, and a litany of other legal considerations, maritime injury litigation almost certainly will require the assistance of legal counsel in order to prove successful. In general, these steps are suggested by legal counsel in the event of or in the immediate aftermath of any maritime injury sustained by any individual, whether in a maritime-employment capacity or as a passenger.
Oftentimes, claimants or their family members wait too long to report any actionable accidents or injuries, thus denigrating the perceived veracity of claims while also risking loss of legal rights to file suit due to statutes of limitations expiration. In most maritime cases, filing statutes of limitations require private passenger claims for personal injury to be filed within three (3) years of the date of the injury or harm being discovered. For maritime workers, depending on their status per federal laws, the statutes of limitations for filing personal injury claims may be as short as one (1) year.
Furthermore, understanding what rights passengers are afforded under maritime or admiralty law and its various provisions or acts is also extremely crucial for initiating a viable claim. Again, this is why it is absolutely necessary to speak with the right legal counsel. As previously mentioned, maritime or admiralty law involves many legal distinctions in itself as well as many legal distinction from state to state, should state-specific jurisdiction prove most applicable in a given admiralty law case. Therefore, speaking with the appropriate legal counsel will help to address such concerns as to whether you are entitled to a jury trial, where you must file your case, what statute of limitation apply to your claims, and whether or not you or your loved one can recover if there was contributory negligence involved in a maritime injury.
Another significant point to remember when debating legal options in light of maritime injuries is the importance of seeking the correct legal counsel. As clearly indicated, maritime or admiralty law is very complex in nature. Therefore, seeking legal counsel from a maritime or admiralty lawyer generally seems to make the most sense. Yet, many individuals do not seek legal counsel at all or often times an injured individual will just retain any lawyer to start legal proceedings. Yet, failing to seek the appropriate legal counsel will only hurt your chance of recovery in the long run. Conversely, if you hire an experienced lawyer that not only specializes in maritime or admiralty law but, more importantly, is familiar with the many intricacies of maritime law, you or your loved will ultimately have the best chance are receiving compensation and the necessary benefits.