The dangerous working conditions prevalent in the maritime industry frequently lead to injuries or even death for maritime employees. If you are injured while working on a ship or in the dockyards, you have legal rights. In general, claims for maritime torts or injuries to seamen occurring on navigable waters during traditional maritime activities can be brought under the Jones Act or the Death on the High Seas Act.
*We caution our readers to consult with experienced maritime counsel if they believe they may have a maritime claim because this is a very complex and specialized area of law that cannot be detailed in a mere blog post and our purpose here is to provide general educational information only.
Generally speaking, a “tort” is a civil wrong for which a person can seek legal redress. A “tort” becomes a “maritime tort” when it occurs anywhere on navigable waters and bears a “substantial relationship to traditional maritime activity.”
A maritime tort invokes federal admiralty jurisdiction and substantive admiralty law. What this means is that for all maritime torts (for example, a personal injury or wrongful death claim based on unseaworthiness), regardless of which state the claim is brought in, federal substantive law (not state substantive law) will apply.
This is important to understand because all actions brought under the Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act, as well as claims by seamen for injuries based on unseaworthiness of a vessel and claims arising under general maritime tort law, are subject to the Uniform Statute of Limitations for Maritime Torts (“Uniform Statute”).
Without exception, all state and federal courts have held that the Uniform Statute, which is a part of substantive admiralty law, must be applied to all maritime tort claims. It does not matter where that claim is brought, the Uniform Statute will apply to it.
The Uniform Statute, then, establishes the applicable limitation period for bringing a maritime tort claim.
The Uniform Statute sets specific deadlines for all maritime personal injury cases. This means that your case must be filed within the specific time period because if you do not file you’re within the specific timeframe after your accident and injury, you will generally be barred from filing for damages.
At the Day Law Group, we handle maritime injury cases including those arising under the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. We offer free consultations. We have offices in Baton Rouge, and we serve all of Southern Louisiana. Call 225-200-0000 ToDay to schedule your free consultation or contact us here.
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