Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, includes legal matters related to navigable waters. It includes domestic and international laws governing transactions and disputes on or connected to water. This area of law covers various issues, such as commerce, transportation, and personal injuries.

Jurisdiction over maritime law cases is primarily held in federal courts in the United States. The Constitution and the Judiciary Act of 1789 grant federal courts the authority to handle admiralty and maritime matters. These cases typically involve acts on navigable waters and transactions related to commerce at sea. While state courts also have jurisdiction, federal law often prevails, especially in cases where state law contradicts established admiralty rules. 

Applicable Situations for Maritime Law

Admiralty law serves as a legal compass when addressing conflicts on the water. Within the United States, these waters include the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Waters historically or presently employed for interstate or international commerce also find themselves under maritime law. 

Among the maritime entities that fall under the jurisdiction of Admiralty regulations are: 

  • Cruise vessels
  • Luxury boats like jet skis and speedboats
  • Cargo vessels
  • Merchant fishing boats
  • Liners

Marine law extends its reach to include offshore structures such as jack-up rigs and various platforms. If you are a vessel owner, operator, or adjuster, you are responsible for your property. If an individual experiences injuries while working on a vessel you own or operate, they can pursue legal action. If you are in a situation where a worker or passenger is seeking compensation after claiming to be injured on your vessel or maritime property, Rountree Losee can help protect you. 

Legal Choices Passengers Have Under Admiralty Law

The law protects passengers who sustain bodily injuries while aboard a vessel, ensuring their rights regardless of the duration of their voyage. Rountree Losee is here to assist if you find yourself facing allegations from a passenger or employee involving:

  • Injuries resulting from slips and falls on wet surfaces
  • Brain injuries caused by falling objects
  • Burns resulting from vessel fires
  • Incidents of sexual assault perpetrated by a boat official or fellow traveler

In accordance with maritime law, individuals may have a legitimate legal claim if they sustain injuries while embarking or disembarking from a ship. If a passenger or crew member asserts that they were harmed or mistreated on your vessel, Rountree Losee is poised to support you in demonstrating your innocence.

What To Do If A Passenger or Employee Decides to Sue You

If an employee or passenger decides to seek compensation for injuries they claim to have sustained on your vessel, you should do the following: 

  • Notify your insurance provider 
  • Gather documentation 
  • Preserve evidence 
  • Cooperate with the investigation 
  • Maintain compliance with regulations 
  • Consult with an experienced maritime lawyer

Contact a Wilmington Maritime Lawyer Today

Maritime law is complicated as it encompasses different regulations, statutes, and treaties between the US and other nations. While some lawsuits may be filed in a state court, others need to be heard and determined by a federal court. It’s advisable to seek the help of a Wilmington maritime lawyer to help you navigate the complexity of admiralty statutes. Our firm is experienced in maritime law. Contact Geoffrey A. Losee at (910) 763-3404 to get started on your case.