What to Know About Maritime Laws and Regulations

What to Know About Maritime Laws and Regulations

Dec 28, 2018 | Maritime Law

Are you one of the more than 13 million Americans that can attribute their employment to the maritime industry?

An industry that generates more than $3 trillion dollars to the US economy warrants a specific set of laws and regulations.

According to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary, the maritime law definition is the field of law that is specific to transportation by water.

If you work for a nautical company or any company on the seas, you should familiarize yourself with the maritime laws and regulations. Here is your guide.

Maritime Laws and Regulations

Maritime laws and regulations fall under federal jurisdiction. The purpose of these laws is to regulate and settle any legal disputes pertaining to sea navigation, trade, cargo transport, and maritime employees.

Maritime laws also oversee maritime insurance, registration, licensing and inspection of ships, shipping contracts, and the carrying of products and passengers.

Maritime Law Basics

A maritime lawyer can help you navigate the law should the need arise. One of these categories may pertain to you.

Compensation for Injuries

For passengers injured on a cruise ship because of negligence, the course of action is governed by the terms of their ticket. Conversely, sailors injured at sea are covered by the Jones Act.

The Jones Act is a federal law stating that a seaman can sue their employer for negligence when injured on the job.

There must be proof of the following:

  • The injury happened on the job
  • The injury happened because of unsafe working conditions

In the event the maritime employee is killed due to negligence, the surviving family members may file a lawsuit against the employer.

The Law of Maintenance and Cure covers an injured seaman in any case of injury on the job. It doesn’t matter how the injury occurred.

Coverage includes daily living expenses such as:

  • Home mortgage or monthly rent
  • Food
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities (water, electric)
  • Insurance
  • Medical expenses (doctor visits, medications, examinations, rehabilitation)

It does not cover your car payment, internet, phone, or gas for your car. These benefits expire once the doctor clears you to return to work.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is coverage for those maritime employees other than seamen. This list includes longshoremen, those working in the harbor and on the docks, and shipping terminal and shipyard employees.

It is advisable to file a complaint immediately following an injury. Those in this category are eligible to receive:

  • Roughly 66.7% of weekly wages while the employee recovers
  • Compensation for permanent disability
  • Compensation for loss of limb that prevents future employment

Death of Maritime Employee

When a maritime employee is killed while working at sea, family members are allowed to file suit against the employer.

The Death On the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is an act that states that a spouse, children, dependents, or parents of a maritime employee may seek compensation when there is proof that negligence or poor judgment on the part of the shipowner resulted in an event that led to the death of their loved one.

The family members are entitled to compensation of funeral costs, financial support, and other expenses relating to the death of their loved one.

High Seas = High Risk

Knowing your rights related to maritime laws and regulations will help minimize the risks associated with working in the maritime industry. If we can help you file a claim or clarify the meaning of specific maritime laws, please feel free to contact us.