Most cases in maritime law are handled in federal courts, but there are some exceptions. State courts can try maritime claims, too, such as cases involving maritime liens and products liability. Because of the concurrent jurisdiction between federal and state courts, maritime lawyers often find themselves dealing with unique questions. For example, a state court does not allow jury trials for seaman claims. This can cause disputes between state and federal courts. Here are some common questions and answers for maritime attorneys.
Under maritime law, the shipowner must provide the injured seaman with reasonable medical care. The shipowner has a legal obligation to provide the injured seaman with the “maximum medical cure.” The term “cure” is broader than the term “maximum medical improvement.” Treatment can include medications, medical devices, and long-term treatments. Examples of such treatments are wheelchairs, prosthetics, and pain medications. The shipowner may be required to pay the lawyer’s fees in a successful lawsuit.
Admiralty law in the United States developed from British admiralty courts in the American colonies. The American courts adopted English law but included national subject matter jurisdiction. The U.S. Congress regulated admiralty under the Commerce Clause, providing national uniform rules for admiralty claims. If you’ve been injured in a maritime accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, maritime law has very specific considerations. The statute of limitations for cases involving passenger ships is limited to three years. In some cases, this period may be dramatically shorter if you read the fine print on your passenger ticket.