Admiralty / Maritime

Rare Experts in Michigan Admiralty and Maritime Law

When it comes to admiralty and maritime law, it’s all about who you know, or rather, who we know. As one of the few law firms in Grand Rapids, Michigan, practicing in this area, our expertise is uniquely enhanced by our relationships with maritime construction firms, manufacturers, marinas, and insurance companies.

We primarily provide defense counsel in actions taken against our clients, but we also handle maritime torts. Our clients include:

  • Underwater Construction Corporation
  • Great Lakes Dock Materials
  • Lake Cumberland Marine
  • Cruisers Yachts (a division of KCS International, Inc.)
  • AI Marine Adjusters
  • Fountain Power Boats
  • Michigan Marinas Association
  • Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM)
  • Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK)
  • National Liquidators

Practicing Law by Land and by Sea

Many legal issues that occur on land can also occur on the water. When they do, some specific situations related to those issues are covered by admiralty law, including:

  • Worker’s compensation/Jones Act
  • Seizures/arrest of vessel
  • Personal injury/Jones Act
  • Employment issues

Admiralty law covers all contracts, torts, injuries, or offenses that take place on navigable waters. The jurisdiction for matters of admiralty/maritime law has been extended over all public navigable waters including rivers, streams, lakes and other bodies of water.

The Jones Act is a federal statute that provides a cause of action for injured seamen. A seaman must prove fault (unlike workers’ compensation) or negligence on the part of the vessel’s workers, operators, officers, and/or fellow employees or by reason of defect in the vessel, its gear, tackle, or equipment.

Basically, anyone working on a boat, oil rig, marina, dredge, pier, or other construction sites near navigable waters could bring a claim under the Jones Act against the owner of that boat or structure. Issues could range from failure to provide safe equipment or working conditions, failure to hire a competent crew or equipment operator, failure to put guards on machinery or any of a number of acts of negligence.

The Longshore and Workers’ Compensation Act provides payment of compensation benefits for disability or death of an employee falling within the statute, if the death or disability occurred outside the definition of “navigable waters.”

The Howard Law Group handles admiralty and maritime legal issues such as:

  • Maritime personal injuries and boating accidents
  • Vessel sales, documentation and registration
  • Seaman’s claims and the Jones act
  • Diving accidents and diving laws
  • Death on the high seas act
  • Litigation and arbitration for collision and salvage (“pure salvage” and “contract salvage”)
  • Recreational boating and marine claims
  • Marine insurance
  • OSHA/MIOSHA diving compliance rules and regulations

Admiralty / Maritime Law Resource

If you require legal advice or active defense in any matter of admiralty/maritime law, please contact the Howard Law Group for a consultation, and a review of our capabilities and experience in this area.