What the Admiralty Extension Act (AEA) is and How it Covers Maritime Workers
A COMPLETE LEGAL OVERVIEW OF THE AEA AND HOW IT HELPS LOUISIANA LONGSHOREMEN AND DOCKWORKERS IN THE MARITIME INDUSTRY
Maritime law governs most legal issues involving navigable bodies of water in the United States that have access to the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. The Admiralty Extension Act (46 USCA 30101), passed by Congress in 1948, extends maritime jurisdiction to boat or vessel situations that begin in navigable waters but result in damages, injuries, or deaths on an “extension of land.”
Examples of land extensions include piers, jetties, bridges, ramps, railways, and any structure that is firmly attached to land.
The AEA enables an injured longshoreman or dockworker, or in the case of death, a family member to file a maritime injury claim against the responsible boat or vessel owner. The law also allows claims for injuries that occur while loading, unloading, or storing cargo and injuries sustained while performing work related to or near a boat or vessel. Before the AEA, inland cases were limited to civil court actions.
The History of the AEA and Admiralty Jurisdiction
Admiralty law and maritime law are used interchangeably in the U.S. but have particular distinctions from one another. The U.S. Constitution states in Article III, Section 2, “The judicial power shall extend…. to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction….”
The court’s admiralty jurisdiction defines admiralty law. In contrast, maritime law is applied by a court exercising substantive federal rules, known as general maritime law, that arise from the Constitution’s admiralty jurisdiction.
The admiralty jurisdiction expanded over the years to cover ship collisions, goods damaged in transport, and passenger injuries. However, until the AEA, inland workers and passers-by were not covered for damages, injuries, or deaths caused by boats or vessels.
How is Jurisdiction Determined
Under the AEA, longshoremen, dockworkers, and others injured on land by a vessel or involving a vessel are provided compensation. In order to determine whether the AEA is applicable, a jurisdiction location test is performed, during which one of the following must be proven:
- The injury occurred inland by a vessel on navigable waters
- The inland injury was caused by an appurtenance of a vessel on navigable waters
- The accident disrupted maritime commerce
- The accident was associated with maritime activities
If the AEA does not accept the claim. There are other maritime laws and acts, including the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (LHWCA), which is for maritime workers employed on U.S. navigable waters. Additionally, seamen in the service of a vessel are not eligible for the AEA and must fill a claim under the Jones Act.
Hiring a Maritime Lawyer in Louisiana
With all the different admiralty and maritime laws and acts available, it can become challenging to determine which path to take. A maritime personal injury lawyer can help determine whether or not the AEA has jurisdiction in a person’s case or if another law or act is applicable.
The filing process, negotiations, and arbitration to reach a fair settlement agreement can become daunting, and insurance companies will attempt to take advantage if a maritime lawyer is not involved.
The case will move to trial in federal court if a settlement is not reached. Moreover, A claim must be filed swiftly as the AEA’s statute of limitation of two years begins on the date of the accident.
An experienced maritime lawyer also investigates by conducting interviews and gathering information about a case. The law firm of Welborn & Hargett can provide victims with a clear assessment of what they deserve. The firm answers phone calls 24/7 at 337-234-5533 For more information, visit www.wandhlawfirm.com