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Why Choose a Maritime Lawyer Over a Regular Attorney?

Oct 9, 2007
When dealing with Maritime law, or Admiralty Law, there is cause to seek out specialty lawyers rather than regular negligence or worker's compensation lawyers. After all, you wouldn't run down to the butcher to ask how to grow bigger vegetables in your garden. While both can answer questions regarding food, both have special knowledge pertaining to which type of food you are interested in.

The same applies to maritime injury attorneys versus regular attorneys. While each has a basic understanding of laws regarding negligence, they each have a higher knowledge of expertise in their chosen field. Thus, a maritime injury lawyer is going to be more knowledgeable when dealing with issues relating to injuries at sea.

An injury at sea, whether the occurrence is work related or pleasure related, is a very serious incident. More people die from basic accidents at sea than on land simply due to the time it takes to receive adequate medical assistance and recovery. The Jones Act was designed to deal with these issues as they relate to legal rights.

It is an entire covenant of law regarding shipping accidents, injury related to seagoing duties, and pleasure boating regulations and accidents. These issues need to be addressed in the legal forum they are designed to uphold in the event that there is discrepancy over fault and liability. Many lay people are aware that there is Admiralty Law to deal with accidents and regulations as they apply to commercial traffic, shipping, fishing, and other arenas of monetary gain.

What many lay people fail to understand is that these same laws are applicable to the responsibilities of pleasure boating. In these unfortunate events, many people turn to lawyers who typically deal with negligence rather than maritime injury attorneys. Hands down they will receive better, more informed representation from maritime injury attorneys who are well versed in maritime law. It's just common sense.

Compensatory damages can range anywhere from covering basic medical costs to covering all costs as well as additional fines for violation of the Jones Act or Admiralty Law. Of course, not all cases fall under compensatory statutes, but there can't be any type of determination made regarding that issue without a comprehensive consultation of the issue and the merits of the case.

Sometimes, even if the events of the incident are clearly indicative of third party fault, the evidence fails to relate the incident clearly enough to determine these factors. It is unfortunate, but it can happen. Thankfully, it is a rare event considering the need for evidence. A well informed decision about proceeding with any type of lawsuit can only be made after a thorough evaluation by a competent maritime injury lawyer. Most often, the maritime injury lawyer can discuss the likely outcomes of filing a lawsuit and the reasons for the likelihood of the outcomes. There are never any guarantees and a lawyer who gives a guarantee isn't a very competent attorney.

Recreational boating does not have very strict restrictions. In fact, there are very few regulations regarding who can operate a vessel. While there are a few loose rules in place, these regulations are generally not enforced and do not restrict people from acting irresponsibly behind the tiller. The lack of regulation makes it more likely that there will be an injury at sea involving more than one vessels.

The lack of regulations also makes it harder to hold people accountable for the damage they cause. If there is no rule, how can it be proven that a rule was broken? This sentiment is the very reason why it is necessary to hire a specialized maritime injury lawyer rather than a regular lawyer when dealing with Admiralty Law and maritime accidents, and especially injury at sea.

There are multiple goals in the writing of maritime law. One goal was to establish a set of boundaries to govern the waters which the United States has access to in order to provide fair grounds for litigation and obligation. These laws were originally written for merchants who relied on the waterways for commerce and for branches of the armed forces which relied on the waterways for servitude of the country.

Pleasure boating was added when it was determined that there was an intermingling between the two, such as litigation that occurred after a commercial shipping vessel plowed into a pleasure boat. These laws are complex and intricate, and of course they require interpretation by a specialist. Without specialists to study the intricacies of the laws, there would be no standard guidelines for which professional sea-persons and pleasure cruisers alike to fall back upon.
About the Author
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on cases involving maritime injury, maritime contracts, and the Jones Act Law. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com
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