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What is Admiralty law?

Admiralty law, also referred to as Maritime law, deals with the relationship between private individuals who are involved in sea-based commerce. The law encompasses fishermen, sailors, passengers and ship workers of vessels operating on the water. So, what is Admiralty law and what does it encompass?

Under Admiralty law, the owners or operators of ships and other vessels are required to provide adequate safety protection for their passengers or crew. The ship must be staffed with an adequate number of properly trained crew.

Should a worker or crew member become ill or suffer an injury at sea, the owner or operator of the vessel is required to provide that worker with adequate treatment, care and compensation. Should a crew member become ill or suffer an injury aboard a vessel and not be afforded his or her rights, they have other options to acquire compensation.

The Principal of Maintenance and Cure declares that all ship operators or owners are required to provide their injured or ill crew members with medical care that is free to the crew member until a maximum medical cure has been reached. The maintenance portion of this includes disability aids, medications and other items required for recovery. Maintenance also requires ship owners to provide injured or ill crew members compensation for basic living expenses as they recover.

The Doctrine of Unseaworthiness covers the safety of the vessel provided by the ship owner or operator to the crew. This doctrine requires that the shipowner provide the crew with a reasonably safe environment. This means that the ship must be in good working order, including all of its parts and the crew must be adequately staffed and properly trained. Should ship operators or owners not meet these requirements, they can be held negligent.

Enjoying the open waters off Texas can be fun and stressful at the same time. If you have been injured in an offshore accident, an experienced maritime attorney in Houston can answer all of your questions.

Source: Maritime Help, "Maritime Accidents," accessed May 16, 2017

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