Offshore InjuryBlog

The Statute of Limitations for Maritime Law Cases

When an individual is injured in a maritime accident, they may be able to bring forward a case. Depending on the specific details of your case, you may have limited time to do so—this is known as the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations specifically limits the period of time in which the law involved in a case is considered executable. Essentially, this law places a timeframe on a person’s legal right to file a suit. If they don’t file within this timeframe, their opportunity may “expire.” This is to help ensure the evidence involved in a case does not deteriorate or become less credible.

In general, the statute of limitations in maritime law is three years from the date of injury (or discovery of the injury). However, the statute of limitations in maritime cases is contingent upon the specific factors involved in the accident, as well as the jurisdiction in which a case must be brought forward in. That is why it is crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as you believe you may have a claim.

How Long Do You Have to File a Case?

Depending on the case, the statute of limitations will vary, such as fatal accidents involving the U.S. government, cruise ship accidents, and cases that fall under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. For cases that fall under the Death on the High Sea Act, the statute of limitations is three years. The Jones Act statute of limitations also provides parties three years from the time of the accident or the time an injury was discovered.

Cruise ship accidents also have a different statute of limitations, which is between 6 months and 1 year of the incident. Further, cases involving the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act may be limited to 30 days, depending on the details of the accident.

Bringing Cases Against the Government

Cases against the government fall under a different statute of limitations. For example, you only have 18 months in most cases involving the U.S. government and wrongful death. In addition, the Federal Tort Claims Act requires an injured party to file a claim within two years with the right government agency.

If you think your case may fall under the statute of limitations, seek immediate counsel and guidance. With limited time to bring forward a case, the sooner you talk with a lawyer about your accident, the sooner you can take legal action.

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