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Key aspects of the maritime law

Many employees sustain injury while on the job. Thankfully, laws and regulations help rectify the physical, financial and emotional effects.

For maritime workers, the maritime law can be of great benefit. To get the most out of applying this law, it is important to understand a few key aspects of it.

The law

The Merchant Marine Act, or the Jones Act, is the law that regulates coastal trade within the United States. This law covers all aspects of trading, including regulating the vessels involved in trade and the employees upon those vessels. 


The maritime law allows workers to receive compensation in the form of damages. Claimants may pursue several kinds of damages, such as:

  • Medical benefits
  • Living expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages

Though these are a few of the most common damage claim types, they are not all-inclusive. In fact, the more severe the injury, the greater the opportunity for damage claims. Parties may also assert several different types of damages for a claim. However, it is important to make sure damage claims support the case.

Who qualifies

The qualifications for claiming personal injury under maritime law is somewhat specific. A key element is proving that the injury incurred was due to employer or ship owner negligence. Also, the claimant must qualify as a seaman. Though there are no official definitions of this position, courts usually adopt the description of a seaman as a person who spends at least 30% of her or his working hours on the ship in some necessary capacity. This applies whether the vessel is at sea or on the shore.

When applicable, the maritime law can be quite helpful. If you have an injury case, consider consulting with an attorney to determine the best way to make the law work for you.

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