The Legalities Of Maritime Law And How It Affects Your Rights

Maritime laws are fairly complex to those who don’t fully understand how they work. However a San Bernardino accident lawyer who is fully conversant with these laws explains that if successfully navigated, then these acts can bring about some great benefits to the injured party.

It is well known that the state of California has some of the busiest ports in the country accounting for over 30,000 personnel who work in the maritime industry. It is also often the case that like any other industry, accidents can and often do occur. However similarly, as workers compensation covers land employees, people who work in the maritime industry are covered under maritime laws. As already stated these laws can be fairly complex in nature and is not something that an injured party should pursue on their own, at least not without the help of a highly skilled San Bernardino accident attorney who is well versed in dealing with such cases.

So what types of industry are covered under maritime laws?

  • Coastguards
  • Merchant mariners
  • Oil rigs (offshore)
  • Tug boats
  • Passenger liners
  • Riverboat crew
  • Water Taxis
  • Ferries
  • Tanker shipping
  • Trawler fishermen
  • Long shore men
  • Dock workers
  • Ship builders
  • Cargo planners

A San Bernardino accident lawyer explains that there are a number of sea-based industries in which an accident is covered under maritime law. One of these laws is The Jones Act.

The Jones Act

This law was passed in 1920 and deals in the main with cabotage (known as coastal shipping) and places restrictions on the carriage of passengers and/or goods between US ports and United States vessels. More importantly it was also put in place to protect workers who had been injured ‘on the job’ and in effect outlines a plan of compensation to those people who work on commercial sea going vessels. It also extends the rights of all US seamen beyond the jurisdiction of normal international maritime laws. It allows injured personnel to be able to file a claim directly against their employer for any injury caused if the suspected fault lies with that employer or other party. This is different from the land based ‘workers compensation’ whereby an injured party would not be able to file a claim directly against the employer, as this is a ‘no blame’ law. Any accidents that have taken place on a vessel must be filed within a given time frame, and in most cases that is three years.

While workers have the right to file a claim under the Jones Act for any injury caused, employers must also provide what is known as ‘Maintenance and Cure’ for injured workers. That is to say that the injured employee must be provided with finances so that they have sufficient money in place for any housing or food (maintenance) and ongoing medical care and rehabilitation (cure) until such times as the person is deemed fit enough to return back to work. It is worth noting at this point that the Jones Act only covers sea-going personnel who spend at least 30% of their working time at sea. This ultimately leaves a lot of people unprotected and this is why the Longshore and Harbor workers Compensation Act was passed by congress.