Legal advisers from other states often refer their clients–who were injured on vacation aboard a ship– to our law firm, because of our special expertise in admiralty and maritime law. If you are searching for experienced local legal eagles, the California Ehline Law Firm PC, have the legal skills you are searching for. Admiralty and Maritime law, deals inter alia, with the law of the sea, including crimes on navigable waters throughout the world.
Admiralty Maritime Law Defined:
Admiralty law or maritime law is the distinct body of law (both substantive and procedural) governing navigation and shipping. Topics associated with this field in legal reference works may include: shipping; navigation; waters; commerce; seamen; towage; wharves, piers, and docks; insurance; maritime liens; canals; and recreation. Piracy (ship hijacking) is also an aspect of admiralty. (Source.)
The firm of Ehline Law Firm PC is one of experienced maritime attorneys representing injured crew, passenger and outsiders, who were hurt in all types of maritime accidents, or people distressed with any type of maritime activity or disputes. This is a rather vague description of what we are able to do for our clients.
Our California maritime attorneys are able to help anyone that has been injured at sea, in coastal waterways and on inland waters. This includes the largest size boat or the personal canoe or kayak, when an upheaval or fatal loss occurs, we at Ehline Law firm PC, are able to assist our clients.
When maritime laws are involved few clients understand these laws and there are just as few lawyers that realize the laws of civil litigation change when it involves maritime law. One of the principals that guide the decision whether a case is considered for maritime jurisdiction is whether maritime laws apply. This can make a large difference in negligence or contract claim, when these laws apply. Our past clients know the proof of how maritime law can protect injured victims.
The merchant seaman that is injured in an mishap at full sail, might know about the Jones Act. This is a maritime law that will give a sea related injury special treatment under the federal maritime laws. In many cases this can also apply to the personal watercraft plaintiff when there is a water maker that has been incorrectly placed on California waters and rivers, maritime jurisdiction and liability can be a benefit for our clients.
Seamen that are injured at entitled to cure and maintenance from their employer when they have been injured or become ill aboard ship or sea related. This is the seamen’s right and should not end in maritime law dispute. There are many seamen that have difficulties collecting the basic benefits; they are entitled to without the experience of a maritime attorney.
When injured or have become ill during the service of a vessel while on duty the Southern California Coastal cure and maintenance attorneys at Ehline Law firm can assist in making sure that you are collecting for what you are entitled:
- Medical treatment that includes hospitalization, medication, medical equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches or prostheses and therapeutically equipment.
- Physical therapy, rehabilitation and convalescent care
- Maintenance payments, this includes a reasonable allowance for daily living, which includes food and shelter
- Legal fee compensation for costs in cases where the benefits have been wrongfully delayed or denied
The injured seaman is not required to use the physician that is selected by the employer or their insurance company. The injured or ill seamen are able to select the treating physician of their choice.
Commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous industries, even with the advances in technology. In some cases it is more dangerous being in that industry than in earlier years, with more demands, short seasons, long hours and shrinking species. This can place extra demands on the commercial tuna skippers, crabbers, or ground fishing operations, causing longer work hours for employees. This can result in major injuries from lack of perfect equipment and fatigue that can lead to accidents or deaths in the Pacific fishing industry.
Ehline Law represents injured commercial fishermen and other situations including:
- Captain or deckhand injuries and death
- Merchant marine injuries and accidents
- Process and fisheries employee injuries
The Jones Act covers tragic events onboard, whether you are a captain, processor, engineer or deckhand at the time of the incident.
Longshoremen, harbor or dock workers that have been physically mangled or disabled in an on the job event, on the California waterfront, need to contact an experienced longshoremen attorney. The federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act protects the person that is injured, this also includes stevedores, crane operators, longshore checkers, and others that work in the industry.
This act entitles the worker to recover their medical costs and to receive two quarters of the weekly pay they made until their injury. This federal act also applies to some gas or oil rig employees that work from fixed offshore platforms.
The benefits of the federal Longshore and harbor Workers Compensation Act, whether the employer was negligent or not, but the payments will be much less than what would be recovered by holding the employer negligent. The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act bars the injured worker from suing the employer for negligence, but it does permit the employee to bring suit against a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer or ship owner. This claim would be filed under the general maritime law or state negligence laws.
There are other resultant, physically poor conditions, that might fall under these laws for employees that are not directly on the water, like the forklift driver that stacks cargo pallets. These pallets could have been stacked incorrectly, handled carelessly or repacked at sea causing injury to the forklift driver, which could result in a claim against the owner of the vessel.
The injured seaman is owed the cure and maintenance payment benefits under the maritime law and the Jones Act. This should be from the time they were injured and until they have fully recovered, unless there is a permanent disability, then until they have recovered as much as possible.
The federal maritime law provides seamen with a preferred status for payment of wages and when there is a pay dispute for unpaid wages or overtime. The experienced maritime practitioner can impose the claim for unpaid wages by arresting vessels, even when in distant ports and enforcing maritime liens. The seaman, due to maritime law, holds a higher claim than the bank that holds purchase money security interest in the vessel!
The rules are different for the unpaid wage claim for the various classes of seamen under the statutes, this includes:
- Seamen under the Jones Act that work within state, this includes pilots, tug operators, mates, barge workers and workers in harbor craft
- Fishing crews and commercial fishermen working on particular vessels
- Mariners that sail between ports in the United States
- Merchant mariners and seamen on international voyages
In some cases it is possible the seamen working in state as pilots, tug operators, mates, barge workers and harbor craft workers will need to enforce their claim for unpaid wages in a state court. The claim in state courts will be under the state wage and hour’s laws, this includes overtime wages and maximum work hours. The other classes will in most cases fall under the federal maritime wage laws.
Maritime Law Lawyers Assist Victims
Admiralty law covers things like cruise ship tragedies, it does not subsume other laws. There are usually many other local, federal and state laws relating specifically to injuries at sea from negligence, as well as other mishaps, such as oil spills.
How Exactly is Admiralty Law Applied? Under admiralty, the law of the ship’s flag determines the venue and laws that apply to the parties. So a sea vessel flying the African flag in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, would be subject to African admiralty jurisdiction.
Most sea vessels are actually registered in foreign countries. Many of these vessels unfurl foreign flags. This means the country the ship is registered in may have laws covering the vessel as well. Many of these laws might be better for the injured passenger than U.S. laws.
This is why you need an experienced admiralty law professional, if you run into a problem. As an example, a ship that has its port of departure in Los Angeles, California may be covered under the laws of the state of California, and the laws of the United States.
It may also be covered under the laws of the country of the foreign flag the ship flies, as well as international treaties between the U.S. and the other. Our local law firm have the knowledge to litigate claims from foreign ports of call, and domestic ports of call, such as a Carnival ships.
You may need to bring claims against the U.S. under the Suits in Admiralty Act, or Public Vessels Act. Our local California law firm will sue whatever country is responsible for your oceanic injuries, including far away countries like the Bahamas for example.
We are expert in admiralty and maritime law, and can provide you with the legal representation you need to recover damages for the negligence of an ocean liner, or for boating injuries or other calamities that occur in the ocean, lakes, or rivers. Many horrible things happen on ships to weary travelers and employees that necessitate a strong champion in court.
There are many ways a person can be injured aboard a ship. Dangerous conditions on the vessel can result in injury-such as a slip and fall on a wet deck. A passenger may contract food poisoning or be assaulted by another passenger. Excessive speed may cause a vessel to capsize or to ram jagged rocks, or another ocean liner. A boat may be overloaded, causing it to swamp, resulting in the death or serious bodily harm to a seaman or passenger.
In addition, mishaps involving boats and people in the water–such as swimmers, scuba divers, or water skiers–are an altogether too common occurrence because of the careless or reckless operation of an ocean-going vessel by a boat captain.
There are certain types of personal injury cases when a lawsuit might be filed against a government agency such as when a U.S. Navy Submarine strikes a charter fishing boat [1. Anger After U.S. Sub Sinks Japanese Boat] This type of legal suit takes an experienced jurist to file a claim against a government agency who is studied in the Public Vessels Act.
Even the Government Can Be a Liable Party
There are cases that allow a victim to hold the federal government liable; this can include tragic situations, such as when a boat, or vessel is struck by a Coast Guard vessel. In a case such as this a suit could be brought against the federal government for negligent rescue with the Admiralty Act. The case of a boat striking an unmarked underwater obstacle may not seem as clear, but it can also be a government agency, since it is the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining the buoys in rivers. Get it?
There are many circumstances beyond one’s control that occur in while working in the offshore oil and gas industry, in which the Jones Act protects the workers. These same maritime laws do not cover some offshore oil and gas employee injuries that occur on the platforms.
There are specific situations where the Jones Act and maritime laws can protect the injured worker or their family, these include:
- Transit accidents, this includes injuries and deaths while being transported to or from the drilling platform by, ship, boat, crane, helicopter or a basket known as a widow-maker.
- Accidents that can include injuries or death when on a drilling vessel, a barge or a floating platform.
- Injuries or deaths either on or near a fixed platform for gas or oil when the employee spends at least 30 percent of their time on-board a ship or vessel.
When the facts of an unforeseen event appear to indicate they could be limited no fault recovery under the California or even Florida Workers Compensation law(s), the Jones Act, maritime or admiralty law claim might be possible against a negligent party such as a third party.
Professional, recreational divers and commercial divers who have been injured diving, during decompression or during travel to or from the dive spot may also be able to sue. Our professionals understand the dangers along with the excitement of diving and often when diving is a part of a vacation resort or ocean cruise package the diver that is a novice is given only minimal diving education and training, before diving.
This can easily result in injuries such as:
- The bends, which is Nitrogen narcosis;
- Decompression sickness, either type I or type II;
- Air embolism, causing lung damage;
- Injuries that are neurological including brain damage from anoxia or asphyxia;
As a recreational diver that has suffered distress or impairment from diving, there could be a wrongdoing claim against the resort, cruise ship operator, the dive sponsor, or the diving instructor, along with other parties. Federal admiralty jurisdiction might cover the claim if the dive spot was in navigable waters when the scuba diving misfortune occurred.
We are experienced government agency claims attorneys that are skilled at investigating the possibility of filing a claim naming the government as the defendant, due to the admiralty jurisdiction involving public entities. There can also be other defendants held responsible, such as a state municipal port authority or a state operated ferry can be a defendant in maritime cases.
There are some government agencies that are frequently named as defendants in maritime catastrophes:
- The United States Coast Guard, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Navy
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- The National Marine Fisheries Administration
- The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD)
Navigable waters are waters running over the all oceanic bodies throughout the world. This includes large bodies of waters such as lakes and rivers usually involved in commerce, or commercial shipping as an example. Navigable waters include territorial waters, like U.S. waterways. Navigable waters also include the high seas. Territorial waters are defined as waterways close to a land mass. High seas are defined as waterways far away from a land mass. Sometimes it is difficult to tell when a waterway is territorial, or on the high seas. In some U.S. states, territorial waters usually are three miles from land.
The boundaries in territorial waters of some U.S. States are sometimes hard to determine based upon a jagged coastline for example, or the gulf stream, if say in Georgia, or Florida as another example.
When it comes to maritime law, Ehline Law Firm PC has the experience that is needed to fully represent our clients in both state and federal courts. We work hard for our clients to recover the damages they deserve. Call us now at 888-400-9721.