What is Admiralty Law?

by Patrick Daniel on May. 19, 2020

Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Personal Injury Industry Specialties  Admiralty & Maritime 

Summary: The definition of admiralty law. Understanding the difference between admiralty law and maritime law. Understanding what a admiralty lawyer is. Understanding when a maritime injury victim should hire an admiralty attorney.

Admiralty Law

Admiralty law is more commonly referred to as maritime law and often these two phrases are used interchangeably. However, there is a difference in the two phrases, specifically relating to the origin of admiralty law. In fact, admiratly law related to early America and the English court system: 

"The terms admiralty and maritime law are sometimes used interchangeably, but admiralty originally referred to a specific court in England and the American colonies that had jurisdiction over torts and contracts on the high seas, whereas substantive maritime law developed through the expansion of admiralty court jurisdiction to include all activities on the highseas and similar activities on navigable waters" (source). 

In a nutshell, admiralty law tended to favor the shipowner. As workers' rights began to improve maritime law more commonly referred to these laws protecting these workers. However, admiralty law and maritime law eventually blended together and are used to refer to the same thing today.

What is an Admiralty Attorney?

An admiralty attorney, or maritime lawyer, is a lawyer that handles any type of case relating to maritime injuries, torts, contract, and some events that occur on or near the sea. Notice that only some events are included in this and not all events the occur on or near the sea. For instance, a recreational swimming accident would more likely fall under state law than be considered as a maritime case. Whereas if a person was working on a shipping vessel and slipped and fell into the water, this more accurately constitutes a maritie case.

Here are some of the most common events where a maritime attorney would get involved:

  • Accident of a cargo ship where workers are injured.
  • Business owners of a shipping vessel neglect or omit something which causes an injury or accident.
  • Violation of a maritime contract.
  • An employee for a maritime company dies on a vessel and the employer is responsible.
  • A maritime employers fails to follow the law related to maritime workers (overworking employees, not following safety protocols, etc.)
  • Dangerous or toxic chemicals are leaking into the water and causing environmental damage or health risks.

How Do I Find the Best Maritime Lawyer?

Finding the best maritime attorney can be a difficult process. Maritime cases can sometimes be extraordinarily complex and finding an attorney experienced in maritime cases can be hard. However, a lot of the same rules that apply to finding the best personal injury lawyer also apply to finding a maritime attorney.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Experience of the attorney - How many maritime cases has the attorney handled? How many of these cases are related to your particular injury or situation?
  • Track record - How many maritime cases were won? What were the settlement amounts?
  • Fees - What is your attorney's fee? What percentage of your settlement does your attorney get? Is this in line of what other attorneys charge?
  • Personal attention - How large is the law firm? How likely is it that the head lawyers are going to get involved in your case? Will your case be handed off to a junior associate? Does the lawyer seem concerned about your injury or more interested in your case?

The last bullet point, personal attention, is perhaps the most important aspect of a law firm. At Patrick Daniel Law  we are a boutique law firm and we take an interest in every case. Our attorneys treat you like a member of our family and not as a client. We are at your beck and call and we work for you, and you can call us at any time of day. We also work on a contingency fee basic, so we only charge a fee when you recover, so there are no out-of-pocket or hourly expenses when you hire us.  

If you were injured on or near the water and wondering if you have a maritime case, contact us for a free consultation and free case evaluation.

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