A specialized field, maritime law is often unfamiliar to attorneys who do not have experience with it. This misunderstanding can result in serious financial trouble for people who run afoul of maritime laws – even when their actions are legal under other bodies of law. For this reason, it is important to have an experienced attorney who specializes in maritime law to assist you with any issues that may arise.
Maritime law includes all matters concerning activities on the high seas and navigable waters. This body of law also includes the rights that nations enjoy in their territorial oceans and the rules governing the legal relationship between ships, crews, cargoes and natural resources. The law of the sea is a complex matter, and many disputes regarding its principles arise from time to time.
In many cases, maritime laws are based on international treaties. These agreements often include provisions regarding safety, navigation and shipping, as well as labor laws pertaining to those working on ships. In addition, international agreements often govern the right to use coastal waters and set limits on the distance a ship can be from shore.
It is also common for maritime lawyers to handle personal injury claims of passengers and other civilians who are injured while aboard a commercial vessel. It is also possible for such lawyers to take on employment cases involving seamen who are suing their employers. The Jones Act, for example, provides workers in ports, docks and shipyards with federal compensation protection.