Attorney and client discussing admiralty law.

What Is Admiralty Law?

Admiralty law, which is also known as maritime law, is a body of law covering all torts, offenses, contracts, and injuries that occur on navigable waters, including lakes and rivers. Admiralty law cases often address issues involving the duties owed by ship captains to their crews and passengers and interactions between ships. Below is an overview of admiralty law. 

Where Are Admiralty Cases Heard? 

Admiralty cases are usually heard in federal court. However, certain types of admiralty cases are heard in Louisiana’s state courts. Admiralty cases are unique and sometimes require courts to apply special rules to the facts presented by parties.

Key Legislation  

U.S. admiralty law is primarily composed of federal legislation. Key legislation in the area of admiralty law includes: 

The Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act 

The Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act protects land-based maritime industry employees who have been injured while working in land-based maritime positions. The act is similar to Louisiana’s worker’s compensation program in that it is a no-fault system. The act provides disability and medical benefits to maritime industry workers who are injured when performing land-based duties, such as unloading, loading, repairing, or building vessels. 

The Jones Act 

The Jones Act, which is also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a piece of federal legislation that enables seamen to sue negligent offshore employers for injuries suffered at sea.

The Death on the High Seas Act 

The Death on the High Seas Act protects the families of maritime industry employees who are killed while traveling or working in international waters. This act covers a variety of maritime industry employees, including crew members, seamen, cruise ship employees, and others.

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act 

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act protects workers who are involved in extraction and exploration activities on the outer continental shelf. In essence, it extends the protections of the Jones Act and the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to harbor workers, oil rig employees, longshoremen, ship builders, and ship technicians working in the outer continental shelf. 

Contact Our Experienced Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana Maritime Attorneys 

Koch & Schmidt is a premier admiralty and maritime law practice serving clients in Southern Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Coast region. Regardless of your admiralty law issue, the experienced maritime lawyers at Koch & Schmidt are here to help. At Koch & Schmidt, our Lousiana and Gulf of Mexico admiralty and maritime lawyers have a well-earned reputation for providing our clients with powerful representation when they need it most. Whether you are an injured maritime worker, such as a seaman, longshoreman, oil rig worker, or cruise ship employee, or your loved one has been killed in a maritime accident, we can help you obtain the compensation and benefits you deserve. Please contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.