Maritime Law

If you’ve ever wondered how order is maintained at sea, then perhaps you’ve already encountered maritime law.

What is Maritime Law?

According to Cornell University Law School, maritime or admiralty law is “the distinct body of law (both substantive and procedural) governing navigation and shipping.” 1

Topics associated with this field in legal reference works may include: shipping; navigation; waters; commerce; seamen; towage; wharves, piers, and docks; insurance; maritime liens; canals; and recreation. Piracy, or the hijacking of ships, is also an aspect of admiralty.”

Regular vs. Maritime Workers’ Compensation

  • Traditional workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that covers land-based employees injured during employment. It typically pays for hospital and medical expenses related to your workplace injury along with disability payments while you are unable to work and rehabilitation.
  • Longshoreman, deckhands and other maritime workers who are injured while completing their workplace duties are able to file both for traditional workers’ compensation and benefits under the federal workers’ compensation act known as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
  • State workers’ compensation acts pay less than those covered by maritime workers’ compensation.

What To Expect from a Maritime Compensation Settlement

Injured seaman that qualify for a maritime compensation settlement are entitled to receive damages similar to those found in traditional workers’ compensation claims including compensation for lost earnings, permanent disability, and medical expenses.

But, since determining seaman status is a complex issue of maritime law, individuals suffering from maritime worker injuries are required to pass a status and situs (location) test to determine their eligibility for benefits under the LHWCA, so they are encouraged to contact a maritime personal injury lawyer regarding potential maritime workers’ compensation claims.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

Also known as LHWCA, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is the 1927 statutory workers’ compensation scheme that entitles certain maritime workers, including most dock workers and maritime workers to temporary compensation benefits of 2/3 his average weekly wage while undergoing medical treatment.2

The LHWCA entitles a maritime worker to reasonable and necessary medical benefits and indemnity benefits, and is administered by the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation, a division of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs of the United States Department of Labor.