Maritime injuries, including cruise ship injuries, typically fall under what is known as maritime or admiralty law.
What is maritime law?
Maritime law consists of a distinct and separate set of rules and laws that relate to the navigation of vessels and commerce by water. Justification for maritime jurisdiction in this country’s courts grew out of the recognition of the important national interest in a uniform law for those who face the hazards of waterborne transportation. In fact, maritime law, on an international scale, is fairly similar between countries but poses very unique questions as opposed to other fields of law in this country.
What injuries fall under maritime law?
Most injuries that occur on the water fall under maritime law, i.e., if an injury occurred on a vessel in U.S. navigable waters, the case will likely be subject to the jurisdiction of admiralty courts. The term “vessels” includes, for example, cruise ships, cargo ships, and recreational boats. However, maritime law also governs, for example, jet ski accidents. The location of the body of water is not only the “high seas” but navigable bodies of water reached by these vessels such as rivers, harbors, canals and certain lakes. The importance of this is that the law applied in a maritime matter is quite different than the law applied outside of the admiralty context. Such differences address jurisdiction of the courts, notice requirements as it relates to cruise lines, time-frames for filing suit, and the general body of substantive maritime law that interprets and governs these claims.
Why is it important to hire a lawyer experienced with cruise ship injuries or other injuries that occurred on navigable waters?
Due to the unique laws and requirements that exist in maritime law, you will need an experienced maritime attorney to examine all of these issues for you. While an injured party pursuing a claim under maritime law may have three years to file suit, for cases involving cruise ship injuries there are contractual provisions under the ticket requiring that a notice of claim be provided to the cruise line within 180 days and suit must be brought within one year. Therefore, the cruise ship passenger cannot rely upon the three-year statute of limitations for maritime injuries. Failure to comply with these specific provisions will bar the passenger’s lawsuit. Therefore, when faced with a potential maritime claim it is important to rely upon an attorney familiar with the field of admiralty / maritime law.
As a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States since 1998, and a holder of a Maritime Law Certificate from the internationally renowned maritime law program through Tulane University School of Law, attorney Michael R. Jackson is prepared to assist you in all forms of cases involving personal injuries occurring on vessels in U.S. navigable waters.
Keep in mind that being represented by an experienced attorney can cause you to avoid mistakes that might affect the value of your legal claim or which might cause it to be barred entirely. The ship owner or operator of the vessel, as well as the insurance company, will most certainly have experienced legal counsel, and it will not be their goal to look out for your best interests. Instead, their goal will be to keep claim costs down and minimize the amount paid out on each claim.
It is, therefore, important, if you believe you may have a claim, for you to seek legal advice as quickly as possible after your injuries occurred in order to preserve evidence and to allow your attorney to be able to pursue all applicable remedies.
Jackson Law International welcomes the opportunity to discuss your claim with you in confidence, so that you can determine your rights under admiralty / maritime law.