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Admiralty Law

Attorneys Representing Residents of Traverse City and Grand Rapids

Admiralty law applies to all torts and contracts that occur on the high seas or navigable waters in and around Michigan. The high seas are all of the parts of salt water around the world that are not part of internal state waters or territorial sea waters. Navigable waters include lakes, rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. If you are injured or suffer harm from a breach of contract that occurs in navigable waters, you should retain the experienced Grand Rapids and Traverse City admiralty lawyers at the Neumann Law Group. Our principal, Kelly Neumann, is an award-winning trial attorney. We also can assist you if you need a maritime lawyer to handle related issues.

Admiralty Law

Under the U.S. Constitution, federal courts have jurisdiction over certain admiralty matters. When a tort claim (social wrong) is at issue, the claim needs to have a maritime locality as well as a connection to maritime activity. The Admiralty Extension Act also gives federal courts jurisdiction in admiralty law matters in cases of damage or injury caused by a vessel in navigable waters, even if the damage or injury is done or completed on land. In other words, admiralty law may apply even in instances in which you suffer injuries while on land, but the cause of the accident was the provision of alcohol on a vessel. For example, if a driver drinks too much alcohol on a casino boat on a lake and then gets off and gets into a drunk driving accident, admiralty law may apply, and a federal court may have jurisdiction.

However, you are not restricted to federal court in an admiralty law claim arising out of personal injuries or wrongful death. State courts, such as Michigan state courts, may have concurrent jurisdiction to hear an admiralty law case under the savings to suitors clause. In some cases, it may be preferable for you to proceed in state court. This means that the state court will need to apply substantive federal maritime law while following Michigan procedures. Our admiralty attorneys can advise Traverse City and Grand Rapids residents on which court would be more appropriate in their situation.

The defendant may try to remove the matter from state court to federal court. This is possible if there is a federal question involved in the personal injury or wrongful death matter—such as the interpretation of a federal statute. However, when a statute such as the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act does not create a new remedy but simply acknowledges an existing right to recover damages under negligence law, it may not be possible for the defendant to get the case removed.

When seamen are not involved, wrongful deaths occurring on the “high seas” are treated differently from wrongful deaths that occur in local navigable waters. Deaths that happen on the high seas are covered by the Death on the High Seas Act, which allows you to recover damages for the death of a loved one that resulted from neglect, default, or a wrongful act. General maritime law will cover a lawsuit for wrongful death that occurs on local waters.

Retain an Experienced Admiralty Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City

At the Neumann Law Group, our experienced Traverse City and Grand Rapids admiralty attorneys can help you pursue damages if you have been harmed on navigable waters. Our Michigan firm also represents people in Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Muskegon, Midland, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, and Saginaw, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact the Neumann Law Group at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free appointment. Our firm also is available for people who need an injury lawyer or representation in a wide range of other legal matters.

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