The Maritime Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation that deals with waterborne transportation, has recently adopted new procedures that will improve the way admiralty claims are addressed and might lead to changes in the way admiralty lawyers process suits, possibly extending the benefits and damages that plaintiffs might be entitled to. The protocols are the result of President Barack Obama’s 2011 executive order for federal agencies to create evidence-based regulations that are both cost-effective and compatible with economic growth.
The new Admiralty claims regulations will go into effect Nov. 29 and are split into three sections: Seamen’s Claims governed by the Clarification Act; claims filed under the Admiralty Extension Act; and administrative claims for incidents that do not fall into any of the other categories or the Contracts Disputes Act.
According to the new policy, the Admiralty Extension Act “extends the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States to cases of injury or damage to a person or property caused by a vessel on navigable waters, even though the injury or damage is done or consummated on land.”
Proper administrative claims must be filed under the first two sections before an admiralty lawsuit can be filed against the United States. Under the Clarification Act, an administrative claim filed by officers and crewmembers injured aboard Maritime Administration vessels must be denied before a suit against the United States can be filed.
Under the Admiralty Extension Act, an administrative claim filed under that act must be denied or six months must elapse after the claim is presented in writing to the agency before a lawsuit can be filed against the United States.
These new regulations can be difficult to interpret, which is why it is imperative for persons injured in a maritime accident or seamen who have been denied wages, medical care or other benefits to consult with an attorney before making any legal decisions that could affect the outcome of their case.
The admiralty lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have been involved in litigation in nearly every major port in the United States – as well as international ports – and help clients secure the maximum compensation they deserve for their claims. Whether the incident in question pertains to an accident that occurred at sea or on land, you can rest assured that our firm will fight to protect your rights.
For more information on your claim, contact us today and visit our Lipcon maritime and admiralty law blog for news, tips on how to handle accidents and negligence cases and the latest developments in the field.