When Do You Need A Maritime Attorney?

Injuries can take place practically anywhere and at any given moment. You can slip at the grocery store, break your hand at work or fall on the sidewalk while on vacation. In each of these instances you may consider hiring an attorney.

But when is it the right time to turn to a maritime attorney?

Some people may not realize that not all attorneys can effectively handle certain specialized types of law. That said, when it comes to incidents that take place on or around water, injured individuals should immediately seek legal guidance and assistance from an attorney skilled in maritime law.

What is Maritime Law?

Some people use the terms “maritime” and “admiralty” interchangeably when referring to the specific body of law that governs all ships, such as cruise ships, cargo ships, and all boats (including recreational boats), and barges.  Admiralty and maritime law also applies to shipboard workers from Captains to crewmembers.

In short, it covers most if not all persons at sea and any vessels that move and/or navigate from place to place over a body of water. Maritime law covers certain international business, as well as a variety of legal issues that involve shipping or crimes that take place on “navigable” waters. The law also covers recreational boat accidents, jet ski accidents and sports injuries on not only Florida waters but intracoastal waters as well.

Maritime law is often viewed as a difficult area of law that is quite intricate. For example, determining jurisdiction can be a tricky task all on its own. This is because in general, U.S. federal courts have original jurisdiction; however, individuals should note that they do not have exclusive jurisdiction. Accordingly, an injury victim who was hurt in a boating accident may be able to bring his or her case in either state or federal court. Individuals should also note that the law comes with its own distinct set of statutes of limitations. For a large number of cases, injured victims have three years in which to file their lawsuits; otherwise, their claims might be barred. Conversely, if the case involves cruise ship issues and injuries, notice of claims should be provided to the cruise line within six months of the incident and the lawsuit must be filed within one year in the designated court noted on the passenger’s ticket.  These time limitations are critically important.  If your case is not filed within these timeframes, you will no longer have a case.

What Kind of Cases Does a Maritime Attorney Handle?

Our legal team handles a variety of cases that involve either wrongful death or injuries that occur to passengers, seamen or longshoremen. Federal laws generally govern these types of claims because normal state workers’ compensation laws generally do not apply to work that is done onboard vessels.

The right time to call a maritime attorney is when:

  • Your boat or ship crashes into another vessel, or someone crashed into your boat.
  • You are injured, assaulted or raped while on a cruise ship.
  • When a loved one drowned in a pool aboard a cruise ship or another vessel.
  • A loved one went missing while on a cruise ship.
  • A loved one fell overboard while on a cruise ship.
  • When you are injured as a result of a cruise line shore excursion.
  • A family member died or was injured while working on a fishing boat, drill ship, freighter, cargo ship, yacht, tanker or other vessel.
  • You sustained injuries from a parasailing or jet ski accident.

A skilled lawyer will evaluate the facts of the case in order to determine the appropriate course of action to take in order to achieve the best outcome possible. That is why it is crucial for those who have been injured while traveling on the water or working in or around a body of water to work with maritime lawyers who understand the complexities of the law.

If you or someone you love has questions about whether or not the law of the sea applies to your case, contact a legal professional at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. today.