General Maritime Law
Maritime occupations have been around for centuries and so have many of the laws governing them. General maritime law covers a broad range of topics and situations that have to do with the maritime industry. It not only covers seamen, but it also provides protection for passengers and cargo.
These laws govern activities between vessels as well as land-based activities that impact the maritime industry. Because this body of laws is so complex and includes so many different aspects of the maritime industry, it is important to hire an attorney who is experienced in maritime cases. While the person may have up to three years to file a claim based on this law, the time may be limited to just one year in certain cases. A maritime lawyer will be up-to-date on any changes that have been enacted since the original law went into effect to ensure the worker receives the maximum compensation they are entitled to.
Maritime law covers a vast range of subjects about the industry. However, for the worker, there are several aspects of the law that impact them directly in the case of an injury claim.
Conditions for a Claim
Under the law, a worker has the right to file a claim against the owner of the vessel if they have been injured due to negligence or unseaworthiness of the vessel. If the vessel was not maintained in a safe manner or there were issues that made it unseaworthy, the injured worker has the right to recover damages.
Certain conditions must be met for a vessel to be deemed unseaworthy. They include the following:
- Equipment that is worn out or improperly maintained
- Lack of necessary equipment
- Spills and obstacles or hazards in walkways
- Inadequate training for crew
- Improper supervision of all crew
- Lack of safety gear and equipment
- No warning signs for dangerous areas or hazardous conditions
In addition to the right to collect damages for an injury, the G.M. law also provided for the owner of the vessel to ensure all crew members receive wages, room and board, medical services and transportation for the entire voyage.
Maintenance and Cure
One area of this law is in regards to maintenance and cure. Maintenance is the cost of room and board for you while you are on a voyage. However, it also provides for you to receive this amount even after you are injured. While it is a small amount paid to the worker on a daily basis, it can help with living expenses until you are able to go back to work or until a settlement is reached.
Cure refers to medical care given during a voyage. This area includes sicknesses and injuries not caused by the owner of the vessel. However, for the injured worker, it is meant to include any payments for medical treatment from an accident that occurred while on board the vessel.
Under this law, you have the right to file a claim or initiate a lawsuit for other damages that are caused by the unseaworthiness of the vessel. This may include lost wages as well as pain and suffering for more serious injuries.
You have the right to seek compensation for your injury under the general maritime law. However, you must meet all requirements and filing dates to ensure that your claim is considered valid. Because our practice is focused on maritime cases, we can work with you to ensure your case progresses along in accordance with the law and to receive maximum compensation.
General maritime law is a complex set of statutes that allow workers to file claims when they are injured. However, it can be difficult to know if you qualify for coverage under this law, which is why it is necessary to speak with a maritime attorney. Call us and tell us your story so we can help you determine your next step.