Maritime Law Terms and Definitions
Arbitration – Maritime arbitration in the United States is protected by the Federal Arbitration Act. While some parties might prefer to resolve their problem in court, maritime arbitration is an out-of-court alternative dispute resolution. Under this act, any written transaction or contract is valid and enforceable, unless there are grounds in law or equity for the revocation of any contract.
Borrowed Servant – A worker is regarded as a borrowed servant if they agree to offer their services to another employer while still employed at their current job. In regards to liability, the borrowing employer is responsible legally for the employee.
Claimant – In a Jones Act claim, the injured seaman will be considered the claimant. However, a seaman’s personal representative may act as a claimant in the case of the seaman’s death or incapacity.
Contributory Negligence – The amount of responsibility, if any, that the seaman bears for his own careless actions that led to his injuries is known as contributory negligence. In this case, the percentage of his contributory negligence is deducted from the recovery in a claim.
Joint and Several Liability – When more than one party contributes to a seaman’s injury, the defendants may be found jointly negligent and held responsible for the injured seaman. This type of liability ensures that each defendant is fully responsible and that the defendant paying the judgment must then pursue reimbursement or contributions from the other responsible parties.
Judgment – A judgment is an order—typically the last order—that a court issues to resolve a lawsuit. The last order can either be an entry of the court’s verdict and outcome, or an entry of an agreed outcome by the parties stipulating the terms of the judgment.
Jones Act – This is a federal law that aims to give sailors the same protections that were previously given to railroad workers under FELA. A seaman may sue his employer under the Jones Act if a fellow crew member or the employer commits negligence.
Longshoreman – Land-based maritime employees and other maritime workers not covered by the Jones Act who primarily load and unload ships in ports.
Negligence – In regard to injury, negligence is failing to act in a safe and cautious manner; this can occur from either an act or from a failure to act. The Jones Act emphasizes that in order to be compensated for losses, a seaman must prove that either his employer or a fellow crew member was negligent.
Burden of Proof – A party’s responsibility to prove a disputed assertion or claim. To satisfy the burden of proof, a party must bring evidence to prove his or her legal claims.
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