What Do Maritime Lawyers Do? And Should You Hire One?

Maritime lawyers are like seasoned captains, steering the legal ship through the tumultuous waters of cases related to shipping, oil drilling, maritime commerce, and more.

Their expertise isn’t confined to dry land; they understand the ebb and flow of the sea and the law alike.

With that said, this article focuses on maritime law, the role of Houston maritime lawyers, delving into their responsibilities, the intricate laws they deal with, and the reasons why you might need their expert services.

Maritime Law; An Overview

The international Law of the Sea governs the use of the world’s seas and oceans. It’s a collection of agreements and laws under admiralty law that regulates activities and behavior on international waters.

Maritime law is applicable to incidents occurring in navigable waters, extending to anyone traveling on the high seas, including cruise ship passengers and maritime workers. It regulates a wide range of activities and potential events, such as commerce, the interaction between seamen and employers, leisure travel, lost cargo, and navigation.

Maritime law also governs the procedures for ships and shipping contracts, including inspection, licensing, and registration with a focus on maintaining peace, facilitating international commerce, and protecting maritime environments.

The Nautical Legal Expert: Defining a Maritime Lawyer

A maritime lawyer is a legal expert specializing in laws governing activities in navigable waters.

A maritime lawyer can help you determine if maritime law applies to your case. Depending on where your legal issue occurs and how it influences commercial activities on the water, you may fall within admiralty jurisdiction.

Common situations where people typically need Houston maritime lawyers include:

  • Boat collisions
  • Dock incidents
  • Pollution issues
  • Injuries resulting from crashes on open water

In such cases, a maritime lawyer becomes an invaluable resource due to their knowledge and experience about the laws of the water.

Types of Maritime Claims

Various claims involving death, injury, and negligence may fall under maritime law. These include:

Wrongful Death or Personal Injury under Maritime Law

Just as land-based employment has state workers’ compensation laws, federal law governs claims for wrongful death or personal injury to longshoremen, passengers, and seamen working aboard a vessel. Similar to state workers’ compensation claims, the fault is not a determining factor in most maritime law cases involving personal injury.

Negligence under Maritime Law

Cases involving negligence by an employee or the shipowner, or a vessel’s “unseaworthiness,” fall under the Jones Act. This federal law allows for much larger awards than are possible under most state workers’ compensation claims.

What to Look for When Hiring a Maritime Attorney

Choosing a maritime lawyer involves considering various factors, such as:

  • Local Experience: Hiring a maritime attorney with significant experience in the field of maritime law can be beneficial for your case. Their experience with cases similar to yours is invaluable.
  • Expertise: A maritime attorney’s expertise can guide you through your legal issue. Their knowledge and skills are crucial in providing you with the best possible representation.
  • Customer Service: Your attorney should prioritize high-quality customer service. They should work diligently to advance your case and communicate with you clearly and concisely.
  • Availability: While they may not be able to answer every phone call personally, a good attorney should be able to get back to clients quickly and reliably.

In Conclusion

Navigating the vast and complex world of maritime law can seem as daunting as traversing the open sea. It is a complex field that requires specialized knowledge and skills offered only by experienced Houston maritime lawyers who can help you navigate the intricate laws of the open waters.