Maritime Law

The most common causes of boating injuries and fatalities are: Capsizing, Falling Overboard & Collisions.

Oakland Boating Injuries Lawyers - Brodsky Micklow Bull & Weiss LLP
Northern and Southern California Boat Accident Information

If you have been injured in a recreational boating accident, you need skilled and experienced legal representation to help you identify your claims and the best way to present them. Boating accident cases can also involve difficult strategic choices between state court personal injury litigation and federal maritime jurisdiction. Sometimes you'll also need to name as a defendant a government agency, such as the Coast Guard or the Army Corps of Engineers.

Don't trust your boating injury case to a general practitioner. No matter how skilled he or she may be as a trial lawyer, an attorney unfamiliar with maritime law and admiralty jurisdiction might easily overlook considerations that could be critical to the success of your case and the size of your settlement or verdict. Contact the experienced Northern and Southern California boating injuries attorneys at Brodsky Micklow Bull & Weiss LLP for thorough and reliable advice about your options.

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Maritime Law

Maritime law, often called admiralty law, is a set of legal rules and practices governing the business of employment and transportation of people and goods over or near navigable waters. If you have been injured while employed by a vessel or while you were a social guest on a vessel, it is important to consult an attorney to help you understand what conditions must be met to apply maritime law.

"Navigable waters" is a legal term describing all waters that are capable of transporting people or cargo between the states and other countries. Inland lakes, even sizable ones, not connecting to an interstate waterway or to the open sea do not meet this test. As a matter of law, the open sea and waterways used for interstate commerce (such as rivers) are navigable waters.

For an incident to trigger maritime jurisdiction, it must have created a potential hazard to interstate commerce and there must be a sufficient relationship between the incident and traditional maritime activities.

Maritime claims

Maritime law applies to the operation of most types of vessels, from the largest ocean going cargo vessels and cruise ships, to much smaller fishing vessels and personal watercraft. It also applies to more than accidents; it governs employment issues (such as wage and labor disputes or discrimination and harassment claims), insurance disputes, maritime property damage, loss of cargo, damage to shore-side property by vessels, repairers of vessels, fishing rights and other issues.

People who make their living working on boats and qualify as "seamen" have special remedies available to them. Congress enacted the Maritime Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act, which provides substantial benefits to seamen injured at sea.

The Jones Act

Boating accidents may injure a variety of people who work on a boat or ship. The Jones Act is a federal law that extends the provisions of the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) to a maritime setting. Where the FELA provides remedies for injured workers on land, the Jones Act provides similar remedies and protections to seamen.

While there is no need for an injured crewmember to prove the seaworthiness of a vessel in a Jones Act claim, if that crewmember can prove negligence by the employer, then the injured worker may recover damages for pain, suffering, disability and future medical benefits.

Death on the High Seas Act

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOSHA) is a federal statute that creates a cause of action for a spouse, dependent or family member of an individual who has been killed on the high seas due to a wrongful act, negligence or disrepair. For more information, see 46 U.S.C.A. § 30302. Under federal law, the "high seas" are considered those beyond three nautical miles from the United States shore. The surviving family of deceased crewmembers may seek compensation for financial losses they have suffered due to the deaths of their loved ones. If multiple individuals (a spouse and surviving children, for example) have suffered losses, the court will apportion the amount of compensation in accordance to the amount of loss suffered by each individual. Under DOSHA, you have, absent exigent circumstances, three years from the time the death occurred to bring your claim for compensation.

Speak to a personal injury lawyer

Maritime or admiralty law is federal law covering crewmembers on seagoing vessels that differs significantly from the state laws governing personal injury claims. For seamen injured on the job, their claims under the Jones Act are not the same as typical workers' compensation claims. If you are the victim of a maritime accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. It is important to contact an experienced maritime law attorney to determine your possible claims and discuss your legal rights under maritime law.

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