Definition of Admiralty Law
Admiralty law, also called maritime law, is a combination of U.S. and international law that covers all contracts, torts, injuries or offenses that take place on navigable waters. Admiralty law traditionally focused on oceanic issues, but it has expanded to cover any public body of water, including lakes and rivers. These laws largely cover interactions between two or more ships, the ship captain's obligations to the crew and passengers, and the rights of crew members, as well as other legal issues.
Federal district courts usually hear all admiralty cases, but states may also hear. Courts apply special rules and legal principles to admiralty cases.
Terms to Know
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Other Considerations When Hiring an Admiralty Law Attorney
Many legal issues that occur on land can also occur on the water, such as workers' compensation, criminal offenses, personal injury or employment issues. However, when they occur on the water, admiralty law often applies special legal rules. For example, claims regarding cargo on a ship are covered by federal law and international treaties, which likely would not apply when someone's property is lost or damaged on land. Therefore, when faced with a legal issue where admiralty law applies, you should consult an attorney familiar with these special laws and rules rather than simply hiring a personal injury attorney.
Additionally, admiralty lawyers should also be familiar with the many international laws that may apply in maritime cases, such as import/export regulations and international environmental requirements.
If you have a maritime legal issue, contact an admiralty lawyer immediately to preserve your rights and explore your legal options.
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