Louisiana is home to one of the busiest ports in the world, making admiralty law a critical area of practice in the state. Admiralty lawyers are experienced in legal matters related to ships, boats, cargo, and other maritime activities.
These skilled attorneys represent clients in a range of legal issues including vessel collisions, personal injury claims by seamen, marine insurance disputes, and more. They possess extensive knowledge of maritime laws and regulations and can provide valuable guidance on complex legal matters.
What Is the Difference Between Admiralty and Maritime Law?
Admiralty and maritime law are often used interchangeably in modern times, but admiralty law, in its original form, referred to laws governing the Royal Navy and cases involving nautical commerce and ships. On the other hand, maritime law referred to any laws that applied to the nature of a case.
Understanding Admiralty Jurisdiction
Admiralty cases can be heard in both federal and state courts in the United States, depending on the nature of the case and the applicable jurisdiction. The jurisdictional framework for these cases is complex, and the choice of court can vary depending on the specific circumstances.
Historically, admiralty courts were separate from federal or state courts and had exclusive jurisdiction over maritime law cases. However, in modern times, admiralty law cases may be heard in federal courts or state courts. Federal courts, including the federal district courts, have jurisdiction over admiralty and maritime law cases based on constitutional provisions and statutory laws. These cases involve various matters such as shipping, ocean and sea law, contracts, torts, injuries, insurance issues, collisions at sea, injured seafarers, cargo and salvage cases, among others.
State courts, on the other hand, were also authorized by an act of Congress to decide many types of admiralty cases. State courts may have concurrent jurisdiction with federal courts in certain maritime cases unless there is exclusive federal jurisdiction or the case falls within the exclusive admiralty jurisdiction of federal courts. It is important to note that when a state court hears a maritime case, it is required to apply federal maritime law, even if it conflicts with state law.
The determination of whether a maritime case is heard in federal or state court depends on various factors such as the specific legal issues involved, the location of the incident, the parties involved, and the applicable statutes. Some types of maritime cases can be heard only in federal court, such as cases involving the enforcement of a maritime lien or the foreclosure on a preferred ship mortgage.
Over $1 Billion Recovered For Our Injured Clients
Different Types of Cases Handled by Admiralty Lawyers
Admiralty lawyers in Louisiana handle a wide range of cases. Each type of case presents unique challenges, but an experienced attorney can navigate these complexities effectively to provide the best possible legal representation for their clients.
Maritime Injury Cases: Accidents and injuries are a common occurrence in the maritime industry. Maritime injury cases involve injuries that occur on ships, offshore platforms, or other vessels. Such incidents can cause severe injuries to crew members or passengers like slips and falls or equipment failures. Louisiana admiralty lawyers who represent injured maritime workers help their clients recover compensation from maritime employers and ship owners.
Maritime Collision and Allision Claims: Maritime collision and allision claims can be complex and challenging. Allision claims arise vessels runs into fixed objects such as docks or bridges. A maritime collision occurs when a vessel runs into a moving object, such as another vessel. Determining fault and assessing damages can be a complicated process, and admiralty lawyers work with clients to navigate these legal issues so they can recover fair compensation for their losses.
Negligence and Unseaworthiness Claims: Negligence claims involve injuries or accidents caused by the carelessness of a shipowner or crew member. Unseaworthiness claims, on the other hand, are related to injuries caused by unsafe or defective vessels or equipment. Admiralty lawyers work with clients to investigate the cause of the accident, gather evidence to support their claims, negotiate settlements, and represent clients in court if necessary.
Jones Act Claims: Seamen who sustain injuries while working on vessels are entitled to file Jones Act claims. These claims provide a means for seamen to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Claims: Workers who suffer injuries while working on navigable waters or waterfront facilities are entitled to compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). However, filing a claim can be a complex process. An experienced admiralty lawyer can guide injured workers through the claims process, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their injuries and lost wages.
Contract Disputes: When it comes to contract disputes, there are several different situations that can lead to legal action. These cases can arise from a variety of agreements, such as vessel charters and shipping contracts, and may include disputes such as breach of contract, failure to perform contractual obligations, or disagreements over payment terms. Admiralty lawyers handle these types of disputes and work to resolve them through negotiation, mediation, or litigation in court.
Environmental Claims: Environmental claims are another type of case that often arises related to maritime activities. These claims may involve oil spills, pollution, or damage to marine habitats. Admiralty lawyers work to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions and seek compensation for the harm caused. They also help clients navigate complex environmental regulations and ensure compliance with laws designed to protect our oceans and waterways.
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The Role of an Admiralty Lawyer
Admiralty lawyers play a crucial role in handling legal issues related to maritime accidents, injuries, and disputes. They have specialized knowledge and expertise in this area of the law, which allows them to navigate the complex regulations governing the maritime industry.
These attorneys provide legal guidance to clients throughout the entire legal process, from initial consultation to final resolution. By representing clients in court and negotiating settlements with other parties involved in the case, an admiralty lawyer ensures that their clients’ rights are protected and their interests are safeguarded.
If you find yourself facing a maritime legal issue, it’s essential to seek help from an experienced Louisiana admiralty lawyer who can provide you with the support and representation you need.
Get Help From Experienced Louisiana Admiralty Lawyers
The New Orleans-based admiralty and maritime law attorneys at Lambert Zainey Smith & Soso have been representing injured maritime workers for over 40 years. We have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients. We can help you navigate the legal challenges and complexities of the maritime industry and ensure that you receive fair compensation for any damages or injuries. If you’re facing a legal issue related to admiralty law, contact us today for a free consultation.