Maritime law, also called admiralty law, governs various aspects of open water activities. The areas covered by maritime law are man-made and natural navigable bodies of water. These laws apply to all private entities in these areas, including the crew of a ship and the laws that govern shipping insurance contracts. Maritime liens are also an important part of maritime law. Here is an overview of maritime law. To learn more, download a copy of our guide to maritime law.
Under maritime law, a shipowner is required to provide free medical care to any seaman who is injured on the job. This care is called a “maximum medical cure,” and it can include medications and medical devices that help the seaman return to normal functioning. These medical expenses can be long-term, too. Some common examples of medical care provided under maritime law include wheelchairs, prostheses, and pain medications. Once a seaman is well enough to return to work, he may sue his shipowner for negligence.
The laws of maritime law also govern the enforcement of contracts. Contracts, for example, provide for compensation to the parties that suffer a loss. It is important to distinguish between contractual clauses and the general average, which contemplates the master of the ship voluntarily sacrificing his or her own ship in order to avoid further losses. The loss is then shared by the parties who participated in the venture. Therefore, maritime law is a critical area for businesses and individuals who work in maritime environments.