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What is admiralty law, and who hears maritime cases?

If you're new to law or just starting to understand your rights as someone injured or working on the open ocean, admiralty law is important to you. This field of law applies only to navigable waters, and it helps keep people safe while offshore.

What is Admiralty Law?

Admiralty law is also known as maritime law. This is a mixture of international and U.S. law that addresses injuries, offenses, torts and contracts that take place on navigable waters such as the ocean.

Can states around the coast hear admiralty law cases?

Since no state specifically controls the water, the federal district courts usually hear these cases. If a state wishes to hear the case and has jurisdiction, it may do so.

Are there special rules that apply to admiralty cases?

Cases that go to an admiralty court are special and fall under unique rules and legal principles. As such, it's important to work with an attorney who is experienced in this process. Some of the things that are handled in admiralty court include cases involving the U.S. Coast Guard, the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

Who enforces maritime and admiralty laws?

The U.S. Coast Guard is the agency responsible for enforcing all federal laws on the seas, bodies of water and oceans inside or around the United States. Just as the police are an enforcement agency on land, the U.S. Coast Guard is the authority on the water.

If you have a case involving admiralty law, it's important to work with a skilled professional who has studied this area extensively. With special laws and requirements, you need to know that you're supported with experience and knowledge.

Source: FindLaw, "What is Admiralty Law?," accessed June 28, 2017

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