Maritime Law FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions – Admiralty and Maritime Law

Admiralty and maritime law is full of complex language, definitions and rules. To help you gain a basic understanding of this challenging area of law, our lawyers have answered some frequently asked questions.

If your question is not included below, you can reach a maritime injury lawyer by contacting us toll-free at (877) 233-1238, or completing our online contact form.


  1. What is maritime and admiralty law? The terms “maritime” and “admiralty” are virtually synonymous. Maritime and admiralty law is an area of law that regulates issues associated with marine commerce and sea navigation, including negligence and unseaworthiness. This area also extends to civil marine torts and injuries.

  3. What is the Jones Act? The Jones Act is a piece of legislation that protects workers on navigable waters who are injured as a result of their employer’s negligence while they are in the service of a vessel – regardless of whether the injury occurs aboard a vessel or on land. It requires employers to provide a safe work environment for seamen. If you are injured while working on a vessel, you can file a Jones Act claim to recover compensation for your injuries.

  5. How do I file a Jones Act claim? Your attorney can provide you with information and advice on how to file a claim under the Jones Act. The first step is to contact a maritime injury lawyer. Read more about filing a Jones Act claim.

  7. Am I considered a “seaman” under the Jones Act? A “seaman” is defined as a person who works on a ship or vessel such as a cruise ship, towboat, crew boat, fishing boat, offshore oil rig or dredge. If at least 30 percent of your total work is performed on a vessel, then you are likely classified as a seaman.

  9. What is “unseaworthiness”? A ship owner must provide a safe working environment including proper safety equipment, qualified crew, proper policies and procedures, and maintaining the vessel and its equipment. If a vessel owner fails to provide a reasonably safe work environment, then the ship may be deemed unseaworthy, allowing an injured seaman to recover damages for unseaworthiness.

  11. I sustained injuries in a maritime accident. Do I qualify for compensation? If you are a “seaman” (as defined in answer 2 above) and you became ill or injured while in the service of a vessel (regardless of whether you became ill or injured at sea or on land), then you are eligible for maintenance (living expenses), sick wages, and cure (compensation of medical expenses). If you can prove negligence or unseaworthiness, you may also be entitled to other compensation for disability and/or lost wages in the future.

  13. Why do I need attorney? A maritime injury lawyer is specifically trained to file and litigate your case. With over 100 years of combined experience in maritime cases, the lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have the industry knowledge and ability to guide you through the process of filing a claim and recovering damages.

  15. Can I afford an attorney? Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A offers consultations free of charge and most often their fees are a percentage of money that they recover for you. Read more about our fees and costs.

  17. What should I do after an accident? First and foremost you should see a doctor and get the medical care that you need. Keep documentation of all medical bills and expenses. Make a list of any witnesses to the accident. If your employer asks you to give a statement, refrain from doing so until you have contacted an attorney.

  19. As an injured cruise ship passenger what kind of compensation can I receive? Every case is different, but injured passengers may be eligible to receive compensation for present and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, and lost wages.

  21. When is the best time to contact a lawyer? The statute of limitations for maritime law injury cases is generally three years from the date of the injury. However, for cruise line passenger cases, the statute of limitations is further limited by the cruise line ticket to, most often, one year from the date of injury. If you delay beyond the filing deadline, your claim is barred forever. It is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your injury while evidence is fresh.

  23. Can I call you from overseas? Yes, even if you are injured on international waters, you can contact a maritime injury lawyer at our firm from overseas.