Maritime law is an area of law which has been created from the cases decided by courts over a long period of time. And while many laws can be found in volumes of federal or state statutes created by congress, maritime law has developed based over the course of many years from fundamental principles governing the laws of the city. Accordingly, there is no “statute” which can explain maritime law details. Alternatively, individuals must look to these case holdings to obtain an appropriate and accurate understanding of maritime law.
Maritime law applies to any injury which happens on navigable waterways. This includes the Gulf of Mexico as well as all rivers in the United States, lakes and any bodies of water where vessels are capable of navigating.
Under the terms of Maritime Law, there is a special class of maritime workers known as Jones Act Seamen. In order to be considered a Jones Act Seamen, a worker must be permanently assigned to a vessel that is currently in navigation. This specifically means that the individual must spend 30 percent or more of his time aboard a vessel during his employment.
If workers are considered Jones Act Seamen, Maritime Law allows them to file two additional claims outside of the Jones Act statute limitations. Seamen can file a claim for maintenance and cure under general maritime law as the first part of their additional rights. This means that when a worker gets injured at work, he can ask for maintenance and cure benefits until he reaches maximum improvement from his injuries.
The second part of the additional rights afforded to Seaman is the ability of an injured Seasman to file a claim for the un‑seaworthiness of the vessel under maritime law. If any part of the vessel played a role in causing his injury, the seaman can seek additional damages under an un-seaworthiness claim to supplement the money they also received for their injuries.
A statute of limitations is the time period in which an individual can file a claim in court to obtain compensation for their injuries. If the statute of limitations expires and a claim has not been filed, the individual will be barred from filing a claim. Maritime law has a three year statute of limitations to file any claims.
It is important for injured parties to note that with a maritime law claim there may be other rights or claims which can be pursued. However, you should be aware that these rights or claims may have a shorter statute of limitations. Louisiana in particular has a one‑year statute of limitations on state law claims. To the extent that you may have state law claims along with a maritime law claims, a one-year statute of limitations may apply to some of the claims. For this reason, it is important to speak with an attorney regarding any individual situation so that you do not miss the time you have to file your claim.
If you are dealing with a Maritime law issue, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to deal with these types of cases. Maritime law can be complicated and most employment companies have teams of lawyers working for them. For this reason, you need an attorney with knowledge of Louisiana and Maritime law to help you get you the outcome you deserve for your case. J. Price McNamara has been practicing law in Louisiana for many years and has handled many Maritime cases. The legal team at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara is waiting to help you with your Maritime Law case. Call us today to schedule your free case review and get an experienced attorney on your side.
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