Maritime law or admiralty law is the branch of law that governs the maritime issues and private disputes. It consists of two main branches: private international law and domestic maritime laws. In general, this branch of law applies to relationships between private parties, including merchant vessels, ships, and other vessels. In addition, admiralty courts handle many types of international trade and commerce. However, there are certain limitations to the scope of this area of the law.
Under federal maritime law, the courts have jurisdiction over all matters related to shipping and the ocean. The laws and regulations related to maritime cases are detailed in federal admiralty and maritime law statutes. While maritime cases are generally handled by federal courts, they can also be brought in state courts. Among the common examples of these types of lawsuits are those involving commercial shipping, which can damage the vessel or cargo. Additionally, ship owners can be held liable for wrongful death or labor violations when their vessels are involved in accidents.
Maritime law covers a variety of factual scenarios, ranging from criminal activity to piracy. It also applies to many common boating accidents, such as a collision with a recreational boat. Although most people assume maritime law only applies to commercial fishermen, it can protect non-maritime workers as well. For example, the Jones Act gives surviving family members the right to file lawsuits against negligent parties. So, if you have been involved in a boating accident, don’t let your injuries go untreated.