Do I Need a Maritime Lawyer for a Personal Injury from a Boating Accident?

Knowing when maritime laws govern over a personal injury case that involves an accident with boats is important for the owner, the victim and any injured party at the scene. The laws and rules may differ if maritime laws are part of the legal proceeding instead of a state with all local civil processes for the case and the plaintiff.

Maritime Law Explained

While states govern laws that carry over the lands of the entire boundaries of the state, maritime laws govern over bodies of water. This may include marine commercial interactions, navigation on the body of water, salvages, disputes, pollution incidents and those on the water that may transport goods for a company or a person. Others may only travel on the water and still face the governing laws that remain for the lake, ocean or river. While the state may have certain regulations in place to affect a situation, while on the water governed by maritime law, the individual may face completely different circumstances.

Lawsuits for Injuries with Maritime Laws

It is often difficult to pursue a lawsuit when maritime laws take over because of the difference in how these regulations will affect the victim. Seeking compensation for accidents against the responsible party may leave the victim in a precarious situation that may take time and legal help to understand how to even proceed. These matters are both complex and confusing for those that are unaware of how maritime laws affect injury lawsuits. The jurisdiction that takes over will have a significant impact on whether success is even possible for seeking to sue another party.

When a boater sustains an injury on the waters away from land, he or she may face a change in the procedure of the usual lawsuit. Shocked and confused that the usual state legal matters will not remain involved in these incidents, the victim may need to learn about maritime laws and how they have jurisdiction and take precedence. Through the more complex federal laws of maritime law, the process may proceed in a very different manner. Through these differences in the legal process, the injured party may have fewer options or need a lawyer to begin to understand how to proceed and what to do next.

When Maritime Laws Take Precedence

Maritime laws begin with certain issues. These generally occur through ferry accidents, recreational boating incidents and fishing problems. Other issues may include cruise ship accidents and smaller ships such as charter boats, sailboats, yachts, barges or tugs. Jet skis and personal watercraft incidents also progress through maritime laws. For someone injured through a boating disaster, the injured party will need to first understand what this means and then learn how the changes will affect how to receive compensation for the injuries. An insurance claim may also change how to progress through these incidents.

Maritime Law in Effect

The maritime laws originally were to regulate and ensure proper behavior in larger bodies of water such as the oceans. However, these laws have the capacity to cover all manner of issues on the water. This could include problems on lakes, rivers, oceans and even waterways. Often most of the smaller bodies of water will have state laws close by that may take precedence if there are no watercraft involved. However, even if the issue happened on land, maritime laws take over when the injury or problem occurs through a recreational boat in navigable waters or another larger boat.

State Laws and Maritime Precedence

The state where the person lives usually has a map of all navigable waters and where the maritime laws have precedence over matters involving the numerous boats or watercraft. However, federal maritime laws generally are not part of any issue on the smallest bodies of water such as ponds. Maritime laws will also govern over personal injury lawsuits if there is a nexus of usual activities of maritime matters and the possible impact and disruption of commerce on the waters. An advantage of maritime law is that there is no minimum for compensation claims, but the lowest to initiate the matter may require $75,000 or more.

Legal Support for Maritime Law in a Personal Injury Claim

When harmed on the water through a boating accident, the victim will need to a hire a lawyer versed in maritime laws and how this would affect the case. The lawyer may need to explain these laws to the client and what this may mean to the claim itself.

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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case.

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