Admiralty Maritime Law Attorney


Legal advisers from other states often refer their clients–who were injured on vacation aboard a ship– to our law firm. Mostly, this is because of our specialized expertise in admiralty and maritime law. So are you also searching for experienced local legal eagles? If so, the California Ehline Law Firm has the traditional skills you seek.

Admiralty and Maritime law cover:

  • Law of the sea
  • Crimes on international navigable waters
Cruise ship on blue ocean
Big ships like this are responsible for massive cruise ship accidents.

Table Contents:

What Is Admiralty Maritime Law?

Admiralty law or maritime law is the distinct body of law (both substantive and procedural) that governs navigation and shipping.

Topics associated with this field in legal reference works may include:

Cruise ship lawyers in Downtown LA.

  • shipping
  • navigation
  • waters
  • commerce
  • seamen
  • towage
  • wharves
  • piers, and docks
  • insurance
  • maritime liens
  • canals; and,
  • recreation.

Piracy (ship hijacking) is also an aspect of admiralty. (Source). The Ehline Law Firm has experienced maritime attorneys. And our sole focus is representing the injured crew, passengers, and outsiders. But we only help those hurt in maritime accidents or people distressed by maritime activity or disputes. 

In any event, this is a rather vague description of what we do for clients. The intangibles we bring are part of what makes us unique.

Why Is Our Focus On Admiralty Maritime Law?

Our California maritime attorneys can help with:

  • Passengers injured on coastal and inland waterways
  • Large boat accidents
  • Canoe accidents
  • Kayak accidents

Maritime law cases are very involved. Most clients have no clue what they face, and few lawyers understand the challenges they will face when handling a maritime law case. One of the principles that guide the jurisdiction’s decision will be whether maritime laws apply at all. And the court’s ruling can make a significant difference in your negligence or contract claim when seeking protections offered under maritime law.

How Does the Hurt Merchant Mariner (Jones Act) Help You?

The merchant seaman injured in a mishap at full sail might know about the Jones Act maritime law that gives a sea-related injury special treatment under federal maritime law. In many cases, the ACT will apply to the plaintiff’s wounds caused by personal watercraft.

Examples include a water maker incorrectly placed on California waters and rivers. In other words, maritime jurisdiction and liability can benefit clients.

What Are Cure Claims and Maintenance Claims?

Injured seamen are entitled to cure and maintain their employers when they get injured or become ill aboard the ship or in a sea-related mishap.

And this is the “seaman’s right.” Also, it should not end in a maritime law dispute. Plus, there are many seamen with difficulties collecting primary benefits. Most of all, they never get what they could without the experience of a maritime attorney.

When injured or ill during a vessel’s service while on duty, get a lawyer fast, So call the cure and maintenance attorneys at Ehline Law firm now (213) 596-9642.

Ehline Law Firm Fights for:

  • Medical treatment
  • Hospitalization
  • Medication
  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, or prostheses
  • Therapeutical equipment
  • Physical therapy, rehabilitation, and convalescent care
  • Maintenance payments (Reasonable allowance for daily living, food, and shelter)
  • Legal compensation for wrongfully delayed or denied benefits

Why is The Employer’s Choice of a Doctor Irrelevant?

The injured seaman isn’t required to use their employer’s selected physician. The wounded or ill seamen and not the insurance company can choose their treating physician.

How Does This Affect California Commercial Fisherman?

Commercial fishing remains one of the most dangerous industries, even with the advances in technology. In some cases, a greater danger exists in that industry than in earlier years. Because of more demands, short seasons, long hours, and shrinking species, troubles grow.

In other words, this can place extra demands on the commercial tuna skippers, crabbers, or ground fishing operations. No doubt, this causes longer work hours for employees, leading to them receiving significant injuries from a lack of proper equipment. Plus, it leads to fatigue-related accidents or deaths in the Pacific fishing industry generally.

Ehline Law Firm helps sea workers like fisherman and:

  • Captain or deckhand injuries and death
  • Merchant marine injuries and accidents
  • Process and fisheries employee injuries

The Jones Act covers tragic events onboard, whether you are a captain, processor, engineer, or deckhand at the time of the incident.

How Can Ehline Law Firm Help With Claims For Longshoremen and Harbor Workers?

Longshoremen, harbor or dock workers that have been physically mangled or disabled in an on the job event on the California waterfront need to contact an experienced longshoremen attorney.

The federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act protects the injured person; this also includes stevedores, crane operators, longshore checkers, and others that work in the industry.

This act entitles the worker to recover their medical costs and to receive two-quarters of the weekly pay they made until their injury. This federal act also applies to some gas or oil rig employees that work from fixed offshore platforms.

What About Longshoreman’s Claims?

The federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act benefits whether the employer was negligent or not, but the payments will be much less than an employer negligence claim.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act bars the injured worker from suing the employer for negligence. Still, it does permit the employee to bring suit against a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer or shipowner. A victim can file this claim under the general maritime law or state negligence laws.

What are the Various Types of Injuries at Sea?

Other resultant, physically poor conditions might fall under these laws for employees not directly on the water, like the forklift driver who stacks cargo pallets. These pallets could have been incorrectly stacked, handled carelessly, or repacked at sea, causing injury to the forklift driver, which could result in a claim against the owner of the vessel.

Why Does Maritime Law Entitle You to Cure and Maintenance Payments?

The injured seaman is owed the cure and maintenance payment benefits under the maritime law and the Jones Act after fully recovering or suffering a permanent disability.

What About Overtime Seaman’s Pay?

The federal maritime law provides seamen with a preferred status for payment of wages and when there is a pay dispute for unpaid wages or overtime. The experienced marine practitioner can impose the claim for unpaid wages done by arresting vessels, even when in distant ports, and to enforce maritime liens. Due to naval law, the seaman holds a higher claim than the bank for purchasing money security interest in the vessel!

The rules are different for the unpaid wage claim for the various classes of seamen under the statutes.

These include:

  • Seamen under the Jones Act that work within the states (These include pilots, tug operators, mates, barge workers, and workers on harbor craft)
  • Fishing crews and commercial fishers working on particular vessels
  • Mariners that sail between ports in the United States
  • Merchant mariners and seamen on international voyages

In some cases, seamen workers may need to enforce their claim for unpaid wages in a state court. State courts will scrutinize claims such as this using the state’s wage and hour’s laws, including overtime wages and maximum work hours. The other worker claims in sea injury law cases will likely fall under the federal maritime wage laws.

How Do Maritime Law Lawyers Assist Personal Injury Victims?

Catalina flyer dockside
Boat trips to Catalina happen in this catamaran.

Admiralty law covers cruise ship tragedies but does not subsume other local, federal, and state laws. These laws may relate specifically to injuries at sea from negligence, as well as other mishaps, such as oil spills.

How Exactly is Admiralty Law Applied?

Under admiralty, the ship’s flag’s law determines the venue and regulations applicable to the parties. So a sea vessel flying the African flag in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, would be subject to African admiralty jurisdiction.

Most sea vessel registrations remain subject to foreign country jurisdictions. Many of these vessels unfurl foreign flags. The upside could be that some laws covering the vessel might be better for the injured passenger than U.S. laws.

  • Port of Departure May Determine Applicable Laws

A ship that has its port of departure in Los Angeles, California, may be subject to California’s laws and the United States laws. But it may also be governed, or under the foreign flag, the ship flies and international treaties between the U.S. Our local law firm knows to litigate claims from foreign ports of call and domestic ports of call, such as a Carnival ship.

You may need to bring claims against the U.S. under the Suits in Admiralty Act or Public Vessels Act. Our local California law firm will sue whatever country is responsible for your oceanic injuries, including far off countries like the Bahamas. An experienced admiralty law attorney may help you solve these problems quickly.

Come to our safe harbor.

Mother's Beach in MDR.
Port of Los Angeles

What About Other Less Well Known Claims?

Many ways exist to prevent shipboard injuries. Dangerous conditions on the vessel can result in injury, such as a slip and fall on a wet deck. A passenger may contract food poisoning or assault by another passenger. Excessive speed may cause a vessel to capsize or to ram jagged rocks or another ocean liner.

A boat may be overloaded, which can cause “swamping,” result in passenger or crew deaths or serious bodily harm. Mishaps involving ships and people in the water like swimmers, scuba divers, water skiers can result from careless or reckless ocean-going vessel operations by boat captains.

Can You Make Claims Against The Govt for At Sea Injuries?

Certain types of personal injury cases allow lawsuits against government agencies. An example includes the case of a U.S. Navy Submarine. Readers may recall the incident of the U.S. sub sinking a Japanese boat off of Hawaii. You must hire a lawyer who understands litigating Public Vessels Act cases.

Can The Government Be a Liable Party?

Some cases allow a victim to hold the federal government liable, including tragic situations like a boat or vessel are struck by a Coast Guard vessel. In a case such as this, the victims can file the Admiralty Act claims against the federal government for the negligent rescue. Cases involving boats striking unmarked underwater obstacles may not seem like something you can sue the U.S. government over. Still, our Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining many buoys. Get it?

What About an Offshore Oil Drilling Injury Lawyer?

Many circumstances beyond one’s control occur while working in the offshore oil and gas industry, in which the Jones Act protects the workers. These same maritime laws do not cover some offshore oil and gas employee injuries that occur on the platforms.

There are specific situations where the Jones Act and maritime laws can protect the injured worker or their family.

These include:

  • Transit accidents. These include injuries and deaths transported to or from the drilling platform by ship, boat, crane, helicopter, or widow-maker basket.
  • Injuries or death on a drilling vessel, a barge, or a floating platform
  • Fixed gas platforms( for gas or oil injuries) when the employee spends at least 30% of their time on-board the ship or vessel

When the unforeseen facts indicate they could be limited to no fault recovery under California or even Florida Workers Compensation law(s), another option exists for the victim. The Jones Act, maritime or admiralty law claim might be possible against a negligent party such as a third party.

Scuba and Commercial Diving Claims

Injuries to professional, recreational divers and commercial divers can happen in many ways, including:

  • Diving
  • Decompression
  • Travel to or from the dive spot

Our professionals understand the dangers, along with the excitement of diving. When diving is a part of a vacation resort or ocean cruise package, the novice diver will only receive minimal diving education and training from their host before they dive.

Injuries Include:

  • The bends, which is Nitrogen narcosis
  • Decompression sickness, either type I or type II
  • Air embolism, causing lung damage
  • Neurological injuries, including brain damage from anoxia or asphyxia
  • Drowning

As a recreational diver suffering distress or impairment from diving, there are many potential defendants and claims, including:

  • Resorts
  • Cruise ship operator
  • Dive sponsors
  • Diving instructors
  • Other parties

Federal admiralty jurisdiction might cover the claim if the dive spot was in navigable waters. So if that is where the scuba diving misfortune occurred, time to sue.

Why Not Put Our Experience To Work For You?

Experienced government agency claims attorneys stand ready at Ehline Law. If need be, we can even look at naming the government as the defendant. Most of all, admiralty jurisdiction includes many public entities.

But other defendants are also responsible. These include:

  • State municipal port authorities
  • State-operated ferries

All these persons and entities may reach defendant status in maritime cases.

Some government agencies frequently named as defendants in maritime catastrophes:

  • The United States Coast Guard, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the United States Navy
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • The National Marine Fisheries Administration
  • The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD)

Navigable waters are large water masses running over all oceanic bodies in the world. So that means lakes and rivers are usually involved in commerce or commercial shipping. Navigable waters include territorial waters, like U.S. waterways. Navigable waters also make up the deep-blue “high-seas.”

  • Territorial Waters Defined

Territorial waters are waterways close to a landmass. High seas are waterways far away from a continent. Sometimes it is difficult to tell when a watercourse is territorial or on the high seas. In some U.S. states, territorial waters usually are three miles from land. The boundaries in territorial waters of some U.S. States are sometimes hard to determine. Dead reckoning is typically hard to do, let alone with a jagged coastline or the gulf stream off Georgia or Florida.

Getting a Proficient, Local Maritime Advocate Near You

When it comes to maritime law, the Ehline Law Firm has the experience you desire. We remain the viable experts nearest you who people call to represent them in both state and federal courts adequately. We work hard for our clients to recover the damages they deserve. Call us now at (213) 596-9642.

Ehline Law Firm - Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC
Attorney at Law

Michael P. Ehline Esq,

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Ehline Law Firm - Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC
Attorney at Law

Michael P. Ehline Esq,

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