Erie Maritime Law Attorney
Guiding You Through Maritime Injury Claims
Workplace accidents can be complicated, but they can be even more complex when you work in the maritime industry. Private maritime businesses and other nautical operations are governed by maritime law. Also known as admiralty law, this body of laws, conventions, and treaties addresses everything from piracy to workplace injuries. Whether you are injured at sea or on the dock, you need an attorney who understands maritime law and how it plays into your case.
Attorney McNair of McNair Law Offices, PLLC has been in practice since 1981 and handled many maritime cases over the years. Our firm can help you, too.
Where Does Maritime Law Apply?
Maritime law applies to all legal disputes that originate in navigable waters. A body of water is “navigable” when it can be used for interstate or foreign commerce. Within the United States, large rivers that flow into the ocean or cross state lines are navigable, but most lakes are not. Some lakes, however, span multiple states and are, thus, considered navigable and governed by maritime law. Lake Erie is one such lake.
Admiralty law also applies to certain piers, docks, and harbors, and to all maritime workers. Maritime workers are employees who work in nautical matters – they do not necessarily have to work on boats or be seamen.
If you’ve been injured on or around Lake Erie, our local maritime lawyer is here to help.
Employees or passengers who get hurt at sea – or even around boats – can file personal injury lawsuits. Still, some of these injuries are known as maritime injuries and will need to adhere to certain maritime laws. Seamen, for example, are protected by the Jones Act.
The Jones Act
Under the Jones Act, injured seamen may sue their employers for negligence. Dealing with a workplace injury is different for seamen, as the federal Jones Act overrides the workers’ compensation process.
The Jones Act requires employers to provide seamen with a reasonably safe place to work. If employers fail to maintain a safe workplace and seamen are injured, the burden of proof for negligence is notably low. If an employer is even 1% to blame for a seaman’s injury, the seaman should be able to recover compensation.
Unfortunately, not all maritime employees are considered seamen, nor are they covered by the Jones Act.
The Longshore Act
Maritime workers who are not covered by the Jones Act are usually covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This federal workers’ compensation law governs workers’ comp claims for injured maritime employees, especially those who work on or near the water and in locations like docks, shipyards, or shipping terminals. Again, this federal act overrides state workers’ compensation.