When an accident occurs on the water, it may be hard to discern whether federal or state laws apply, as well as who may be responsible for the resulting injuries and damages. Whether the liable party in your case is a negligent boat operator, a third party on shore, or your own employer, you will likely need guidance from a seasoned legal professional if you want to effectively pursue financial recovery.
One of the qualified League City maritime injury lawyers at Haines Law can help you determine what responsibilities the opposing party owed you at the time of the accident and hold them accountable for your damages. If you suffered long-term harm or permanent injuries, assistance from a seasoned personal injury attorney may be especially critical to preserving your future prospects.
When Do Federal Maritime Laws Apply?
Most of the time, waterborne accidents that occur on inland waterways, like Clear Creek, fall under the jurisdiction of state law. However, if an accident takes place in “navigable waters” (i.e. those which allow for trade between different states or countries), involves commercial maritime activities, or occurs more than 12 nautical miles away from the United States shore, federal maritime law applies.
Various federal statutes can impact the outcome of a League City maritime injury case. For example, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation protects the rights of harbor workers to seek compensation for on-the-job accidents, while the Jones Act allows workers injured at sea to hold their employers liable for certain damages. Other federal laws cover specific territories, such as the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
How Can Federal Laws Limit Civil Recovery for a Maritime Accident?
One of the most important federal laws to keep in mind when seeking compensation for a maritime accident is the Boat Owner’s Limitation of Liability Act. This Act limits total available recovery for accidents that occur on certain types of vessels based on the value or weight of the ship(s) involved.
This law generally limits a boat owner’s liability for lost or damaged cargo to the total value of the vessel itself. In the event that someone on board is injured or killed in a maritime accident, the owner of the ship would be liable for $420 times the gross weight of the vessel in pounds.
Importantly, this law does not apply to recreational boats, cruise ships, barges, tankers, or fishing vessels. Furthermore, if an accident occurs as a result of a condition that the boat’s owner knew or should have known about, they cannot seek protection from liability under this Act. Our League City lawyers can discuss in further detail how this and other federal restrictions might impact potential recovery for a maritime accident.
Seek Help from Our League City Maritime Injury Attorneys
Pursuing compensation for maritime injuries is often more complex than seeking civil restitution for inland boat accidents. Several federal laws and regulations govern accidents that take place in navigable waters, and it can be challenging to sort them all out without professional legal guidance.
Consulting with our League City maritime injury lawyers can make all the difference in your ability to recover compensation for your damages. To schedule a consultation about your case, call Haines Law today.