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STATE AND FEDERAL PROVISIONS OF MARITIME LAW

     
   

     
   

JONES ACT SEAMEN
The Jones Act is a federal maritime remedy, which protects seamen. A seaman is an individual whose duties contribute to the vessel’s mission or function and connection to the vessel must be substantial both in nature and duration. An injured seaman may file a negligence claim against his employer or others responsible for his injury. A seaman also has a claim for maintenance and cure which provides payment during the time he is injured plus necessary medical care and also “found,” which is food and boarding. A seaman may also have a claim against the vessel owner for unseaworthiness of the vessel. The following are examples of the types of vessels upon which a seaman can be injured: inland barges, tugs, a barge attached to a tug, submergible drilling barges, blue water vessels, jack up rigs, crew boats and many other types of water craft which traverse the navigable waters of a state and beyond.

     
   

     
   

PASSENGERS OR INVITEES
A person who is an invitee, a visitor, or passenger aboard a vessel may also have a claim under the general maritime law for negligence. These claims are most commonly seen on cruise ships or when individuals are called or required to board a vessel for some reason other than related to immediate employment.

     
   

           
   

LONGSHOREMEN AND HARBOR WORKERS
Longshoreman and harbor workers can be injured dockside or offshore. If a third party other than their employer is at fault or contributed to their accident, then a claim may exist under state or federal law. Some longshoremen may have a claim that is distinctly maritime in nature because they are injured while loading, unloading, building or performing repairs on a vessel. These claims generally fall under the The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. 33 USC 905(b), although in some situations there may be a claim under state law or the general maritime law.

There are also some longshore injuries associated with fixed platforms in state waters and on the outer continental shelf that may not be strictly maritime in nature, but can have maritime flavor. For example, when an individual is transferring from a platform to a vessel in navigable waters these cases may be governed by state law, federal law or a combination of the two depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. These factors are extremely important because in Jones Act cases and maritime cases there is generally a three (3) year prescriptive period (the time limit for bringing a claim) while in other instances you may be limited to one (1) year if there is no vessel or maritime flavor.

     
   

           
   

RECREATIONAL ACCIDENTS
Individuals may also have claims for recreational boating accidents. These claims may involve personal watercraft such as jet skis, water skis, pleasure boats or hunting boats on navigable waters. These claims must be reviewed carefully because the time limit may be one (1) year as opposed to three (3) years.

     
   

           
   

ACCIDENTS IN FORGEIGN TERRITORIES OR ON FOREIGN VESSELS
There are also vessels employing United States’ citizens that operate outside the continental United States and its waters and fly flags of countries other than the United States. Accidents or deaths aboard these vessels may be governed by the law of another country that may not be as favorable as U.S. law. There are numerous factors that are considered to determine which law applies if the seaman was from the United States and is injured in a foreign territory or on board a foreign vessel.

     
   

           
   

INJURIES OCCURRING ON A DOCK, PIER OR WHARF
An individual may also make a claim for injury on a dock, pier, or wharf. These claims could involve anyone from a seaman, maritime worker, longshoreman or passenger to business guest.

     
   

 

           
   

DEATH ON THE HIGH SEAS
If an individual is killed more than a maritime league or three miles offshore then a statute called the Death On The High Seas Act may be applicable. This could involve death on a vessel, fall from a platform, helicopter accident, or any other numerous causes of death on the water.

     
   

 

     
   

PRODUCT LIABILITY CLAIMS
An individual may be injured or killed because of a defect in a product (machinery, equipment, or other device) used in his maritime occupation. A defect may be the result of an improper design, error in manufacture or inadequate warning. If this is the case it may be necessary to make a claim under maritime and/or state product liability law.

     
   

 

     
   

THE McKAY LAW FIRM IS HERE TO HELP

     
   

The maritime law is greatly diverse and governs injuries on inland navigable waters, and the piers, wharfs and docks adjacent to those waters. It also governs injuries that may occur offshore on blue water ships, submergible drilling barges, floaters, or fixed platforms.

It is important to know the applicable federal law, state law, laws of adjacent states, prescriptive periods, and how all of these various laws may affect your case. Because these issues are complicated and must be considered on a case by case basis, it is extremely important to find an attorney who is knowledgeable in these areas and who can provide a prompt answer to questions concerning your accident.

     
   

           
   

             
                   
 
 
 
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