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Maritime/Offshore Injury

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Admiralty Jurisdiction Extension Act

The United States Constitution grants jurisdiction for issues regarding sailors and offshore incidents to admiralty and maritime courts. Over the years, court cases have tested the confines of admiralty jurisdiction and therefore the boundaries have become further developed over the years to determine what the extensions are. If you have questions regarding maritime and admiralty law, contact an experienced maritime attorney for further assistance.

Admiralty Jurisdiction

One of the important first questions of any maritime claim is the scope of jurisdiction. Some accidents may occur just one mile off the coast, while others may be 20 miles from the coast. The question therefore becomes what jurisdiction the accident falls within. Each state has a different structure for determining what is considered its state jurisdiction, although the jurisdiction for Texas is three marine leagues, or between 9 and 10 miles from the baseline. The area outside of the state’s jurisdiction is “territorial waters” which may make the claim subject to different jurisdictions. However, inland waters and these state territorial waters overlap between state and admiralty jurisdiction when the waterway is considered a navigable waterway of the United States.

Aside from state jurisdiction, international jurisdiction begins to emerge after 12 miles away from the coastal baseline.   A nation may additionally enforce further customs and laws within 24 miles of the coastline. Additionally, within 200 miles from the coastal baseline, a nation may enforce a so-called “exclusive economic zone” through which nations such as the United States exercises their rights over the minerals in the subsoil and living resources.

The Admiralty Jurisdiction Extension Act extended the current liability of vessels in navigable waterways to extend to injuries sustained on land which were the result of vessel accidents. This law helps provide a legal remedy for injured parties who were previously unable to bring claims for their damages caused by vessels since the injuries did not fall within state court jurisdiction nor did they meet the tests for federal admiralty law jurisdiction.

Federal Admiralty Law

If you have been injured in an accident on the high seas, many federal laws have been put in pace to protect your interests and provide methods for recovery. Different laws protect different types of injuries and it is therefore important to carefully understand the different laws and to avoid speaking with an insurance adjuster or a representative from the party which caused your injuries. An experienced maritime attorney will be able to assist you in navigating the different admiralty laws and in determining under what jurisdiction your injury falls.

Malley Law Firm | Houston Maritime Lawyer

If you have been injured in a maritime or admiralty accident, do not hesitate to contact Tony Malley to discuss the details of your case. Admiralty law is a different sector of law and falls within federal guidelines rather than state, even if it appears to be a state injury. Tony Malley is experienced in maritime law and his offices are located along the Gulf Coast. Contact our Texas offices today for your initial free consultation.


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