What is Maritime Law?
The ‘general maritime law’ is a body of law that applies to accidents and injuries that occur on the water. It is actually derived from old cases and the rules they made, some of them hundreds of years old, and some even dating back to England. General maritime law generally applies a ‘reasonable’ person standard, and comparative fault applies to the parties involved. This means that if you have an accident on the water, and general maritime law applies, the legal test will be whether or each of the parties acted ‘reasonable’ under the circumstances. If the person that caused your accident did not act as a reasonable person would have, then they will be liable for any damages that you suffered. However, if you also failed to act as a reasonable person would have, or if you contributed to your own accident, then your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault in contributing to your own accident. For example, if a fellow boater fails to yield to you when you have the right away, then he should be a fault. But if you fail to sound your horn to warn him, which may have prevented the accident, then you may also be assigned fault which would reduce your recovery. The same set of rules apply if you are hurt offloading a third party company’s boat or injured while getting on and off a crew boat operated by someone other than your employer. In such cases, the company may be at fault, but the jury will also get to decide if your recovery should be reduced due to any fault on your part. Our maritime attorneys and lawyers have worked with experts in the offshore and maritime areas that can help explain to a jury the responsibilities that each party had at the time of your accident.
If you’re still looking for more information, read our article “What is a Maritime Lawyer?”
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