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How does admiralty law protect workers at sea?

For the centuries of seafaring that helps create this country, it was all too easy to get injured on a ship. Even as the technology improved and engines replaced sails, it was still a very hazardous career to work in shipping and offshore drilling. Even though no state can claim jurisdiction when someone is hurt offshore, the government in Washington maintains protections for maritime workers.

  • What is admiralty law?

This is a group of laws based on international standards for oceangoing vessels, that has also been adapted to cover lakes and other interstate bodies of water within the United States. The laws and the courts that deal with them cover injuries and deaths that happen at sea or in the lesser bodies of water within national boundaries.

  • How do injured maritime workers access these laws?

Admiralty courts are usually federal courts that hear cases that rely on admiralty law. If a worker is injured or sickened on an offshore platform, shipping liner, barge or cruise ship, he or she has a case in admiralty court against the operator or owner of the vessel.

  • What evidence is necessary for cases under admiralty law?

Reports made or collected by the U.S. Coast Guard regarding incidents may be helpful. The same evidence that workers on land would use in a workers' compensation claim will also be useful.

  • How do I access admiralty law when I need it?

An attorney familiar with injuries occurring to workers on the water may be a helpful ally if its necessary to go to court. Legal representation may increase the chances of a claim being successful.

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