Fighting for your rights in
Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey,
North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Maritime work is dangerous, whether you’re on land or out at sea. As a merchant seaman, a commercial fisherman, a deckhand on a tug or ferry, or a longshoreman working in a shipyard, you face risks daily while trying to make an honest living.
Your livelihood depends on your physical ability, so if you’ve suffered a workplace injury and can no longer work, it’s critical that you understand your rights to compensation under maritime law. This is why it’s important to seek advice from an experienced attorney who understands the complexities of maritime law.
The rules that govern the seas are different from the law of the land. To help you understand how maritime law works, here is a basic guide to maritime law to help you navigate this area of the law.
What is Maritime Law?
Maritime law, also referred to as Admiralty Law, is a body of law that regulates maritime activities, such as shipping, navigation, towage, commerce, recreational boating, and piracy by private entities on domestic and international waters. It covers both natural and man-made navigable waters, such as rivers and canals.
Maritime law is often grouped into two categories: the collection of federal statutes (such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act), and “common law,” which has developed naturally over time as a result of court decisions.
One of the most important aspects of general maritime law is its provisions for workers who have been injured and are in need of medical care. This doctrine is known as Maintenance and Cure, and is what provides living expenses, lost wages, and medical care to maritime workers who are injured or become ill while working at sea.
Maritime law provides additional rights and damages to seamen outside the Jones Act, and provides a basis for family members to pursue wrongful death claims. General maritime law also interprets how damages can be assessed and what constitutes contributory negligence.
Types of Cases Brought Under Maritime Law
While maritime workers often have similar job responsibilities to those laboring on the land, work carried out at sea and at ports is inherently much more dangerous.
Maritime injury cases involve all types of accidents that happen on land and at sea, including falling overboard, fires, explosions, crashes, slips and falls, wrongful death claims, and more.
Injured workers in the U.S. can generally seek to claim damages under state workers’ compensation laws. However, these land-based laws don’t extend to maritime employees. Instead, these types of claims need to be pursued under the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. These maritime laws give seafarers extra protections, providing more adequately for an injured maritime worker, and making the value of your case much higher.
Regardless of whether you’ve been injured working in the Chesapeake Bay or in the North Atlantic Ocean, you can trust that our maritime attorneys have the dedication and experience to get you the compensation you deserve.
- Cruise ship accidents
- Cargo ship accidents
- Barge accidents
- Dredge accidents
- Dry dock accidents
- Engine room accidents
- Ferry accidents
- Gangway and boarding accidents
- Heavy lift ship accidents
- Helicopter accidents
- Marine cargo handling accidents
- Marine terminal accidents
- Oil rig accidents
- Oil spill accidents
- Ship salvage accidents
- Shipyard accidents
- Shrimp boat accidents
- Tour boat accidents
- Tugboat accidents
Understanding Your Rights to Compensation
If you’ve been injured while engaged in maritime work, whether it’s on land at a port or at sea aboard your employer’s ferry, dredge, fishing boat, tug, barge, or ship, you will be wondering how compensation works and what you might be entitled to. Under maritime laws, you have rights to compensation that are different — and more valuable — than the rights of an injured land-based worker.
While every case is different and will be impacted by the various maritime laws, damages under maritime law generally cover medical expenses, lost wages, future lost earnings due to your injury, pain and suffering, and more. In the case of wrongful death, it covers funeral costs and loss of companionship.
Even if your employer is paying your workers’ compensation for a maritime injury that happened about their tug, barge, dredge, ship, or other vessels, you may still have a claim as a Jones Act maritime worker. These employers don’t want you to know your rights under the Jones Act.
No matter what kind of injury you have suffered, or where your accident occurred, get in touch with our attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law as soon as possible. Maritime cases are complicated and you will need expert legal advice.
Is There a Statute of Limitations?
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations for maritime law claims is three years. However, some factors, such as the location of your accident, can shorten your statute of limitations. For this reason and others, it’s critical that you don’t delay getting in touch with one of our experienced attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law about your injuries. Our attorneys will be able to provide you expert advice and help you understand your rights to compensation.
Do I Need a Maritime Attorney?
Maritime attorneys are skilled litigators who understand federal and state maritime laws and international agreements, and have sound judgment when it comes to helping you win your case and getting you the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries. Maritime law is a highly skilled and specialized area of law and there aren’t many attorneys who practice in the field as effectively as the attorneys at Montagna Maritime Law.
Your employer and their insurance company may try to reach a settlement quickly. Although their offer may sound good, it’s critical that you do not settle. Don’t sign anything until you’ve spoken with one of our experienced attorneys.
Free and Confidential Evaluation of Your Case
If you would like to find out more about your legal rights after suffering an injury at work, take advantage of our free consultation. You can learn more about what benefits you may be entitled to and how our experienced maritime attorneys can help. We handle all our cases on a no win, no fee basis, which means you will pay attorney fees only if we are successful in getting you compensation.