General maritime law provides additional rights and damages to seamen and maritime laborers outside the Jones Act. General maritime law in Houston also provides remedies to non-seamen injured in a sea setting or while involved in maritime activities. Basically, general maritime law includes the common law remedies that are available for maritime accidents. General maritime law has been around for centuries and refers to an entire body of federal law that regulates accidents that take place on the waters. This law provides additional remedies for injured seamen and their family members. It basically allows injured workers to pursue damages outside the Jones Act.
The statute of limitations controlling general maritime claims is actually three years from the day of the event that was the cause of action. This means that an injured maritime worker has only three years to file suit, or lose his right to make a claim forever.
Maritime law observes a strict liability standard with regards to product liability claims and even provides causes of action for wrongful death that are available to non-seamen injured on the high seas. Strict liability is a legal principle that is applied to situations that are considered inherently dangerous. The theory of strict liability holds your employer responsible for any damages resulting from their acts. Under this theory, a plaintiff only needs to show that the defendant’s action was responsible for the plaintiff’s injury. In 2001, the Supreme Court held that maritime law does recognize an independent cause of action for the death of non-seamen.
There are some circumstances in which the courts have allowed recovery of punitive damages and non-pecuniary losses against defendants who are not your employer. A decision held in 2004 held that a Jones Act seaman who brings a claim against a non-employer or third party, might assert a claim for punitive damages.
General maritime claims include claims of Jones Act seamen and longshoremen against any responsible third party non-employers for negligence causing or contributing to injury or death. These claims also include claims of passengers and non-seamen for negligence resulting in damages while involved in maritime activities. Maritime law covers dealings between ship owners, crewmembers, passengers and cargoes on the high seas. The Constitution grants federal judicial power to all maritime law cases. The Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the federal district courts jurisdiction in maritime law and appointed the Supreme Court as the final authority of law disputes.
You are covered by the General Maritime Law if you engage in activities on the water. Seamen and non-seamen alike can turn to this law for protection. Seamen who are injured on sea vessels or offshore oil rigs that can be towed (not stationary) are covered under General Maritime Law in Houston.