Areas of Practice > Maritime and Personal Injury


Admiralty/Maritime law is a distinct body of law that dates back to the earliest recorded law.  It governs maritime commerce and marine activities that occur on or near navigable waters.  It includes a body of domestic (including U.S.) laws and private international laws that date back to the Rhodian, Roman, Byzantine, Norman England (Admiralty Courts) and Islamic legal codes.  It is a body of law that contains rules to resolve seaborne and water disputes involving maritime trade.  Admiralty/Maritime impart special rules for seamen, maintenance (daily stipend), cure (medical), personal injury (Jones Act, unseaworthiness and maritime negligence), limitation of liability, maritime liens and mortgages, salvage, treasure salvage, piracy, collisions, stevedoring, warehousing, marine insurance, longshore personal, offshore, inshore, transport of cargo, river - just to name a few areas of maritime law.

Personal injury consists of injuries that occur through vehicle accidents (auto, truck,  motorcycles (both on/off road), four wheelers, three wheelers, trailer/mobile homes/campers, bicycles, etc.), pedestrian injuries, slip/fall, trip/fall, falling objects, product liabilities, on the job injuries (worker’s compensation - either state or federal or other applicable law), and many other types of injuries which may be covered by insurance.

Mr. Harvin works for his clients seeking the maximum recovery under the applicable laws and the specific factual circumstances of each case in which a person has sustained severe injuries.

The specific factual circumstances determine what type of claim you may or may not have or whether you have multiple claims for the same injury. 

As an example a person (A) injured in an auto accident on land caused by the negligence of the other driver (B) and a defective seat belt which had not yet been recalled by the seat belt manufacturer © , but while being transported by his employer’s retained 3rd party transport officer (D) from his employer’s office to the supply vessel owned by his seaman employer (E) and further injured by an incompetent doctor (F) using a defective back device manufactured by (G) may have as many, if not more, than seven (7) different types of claims to claim damages resulting from (A)’s auto accident.

You need an attorney experienced in handling maritime and personal injury for more than 37 years to be on your side and recovery as much as possible under your cases factual circumstances.

Today, to further protect your right of recovery, you need the Harvin Law Firm, and it’s attorney whom will protect YOUR $$$$ that you are entitled to recovery (and future rights to federal funding if applicable) by knowing and working with Louisiana and the Federal law associated with the SUPER LIENS of Medicare and Medicaid, IRS tax liens, and child support enforcement liens; subrogation claims by your medical providers; and indemnification by your own health insurers, employers workers compensation carriers, and automobile insurance carriers, etc.; to put as much $$$ as possible in YOUR POCKET.  

If YOU are on Medicare or entitled to seek Medicare benefits in the near future, then YOUR personal injuries $$$ proceeds may have to go directly into a Special Needs Trust or a Medicare Set Aside rather than into your name to protect your rights to receive or continue to receive your present or future governmental benefits.   $$$ placed into Special Needs Trust and Medicare Set Aside accounts are used for YOUR benefit but special rules apply to protect the government rights. 

So what makes your claim worth taking a personal for a personal injury attorney:

  1. You are not at fault or have minimal comparative fault 
  2. Significant injuries or treatable injuries that may take some time to recover from
  3. Deep pocket insurance
     - At fault person 
    - Your own UM you bought to protect you
  4. Honest credible client 
    (Even if preexisting medical condition)

            Negatives that hurt case - chance of recovery

  1. Honesty/credibility of client absolutely effects value of case
  2. Preexisting injury not revealed
  3. Comparative negligence on client's part(Cell phones - multi-car accident driver not paying attention at fault driver and/or failing to file suit timely)
  4. No or minimal property and personal injury damages 
  5. Minimal limits insurance coverage - no client uninsured/under-insured coverage
  6. Multiple injured
  7. Medicare, secondary payor's, Medicaid, health insurance liens, child support and tax liens, etc.
  8. Difficult insurance adjuster, attorney or company policy

    Maritime Law


    Why in maritime law is “seaman” status so important and who qualifies as a “seaman”?             


    Seaman status is very important to “YOU” as the “INJURED PARTY” as if you are deemed to be a “Seaman” you are entitled to the Benefits of Admiralty also known as maritime law where simple negligence on the part of the shipowner or strict liability if the vessel you work aboard is adjudged to be unseaworthy. 

    Admiralty or Maritime Law is a distinct body of law that governs issues, questions and offenses.  It involves both domestic and international laws that control the relationships between entities and persons that operate vehicles upon the navigable waters of mother Earth.

    Maritime laws of jurisdiction and procedure, personal injury and wrongful death, worker’s compensation, carriage of goods and charters, salvage, general average, collision, marine insurance, maritime liens, limitation of liability, statutes of limitation and laches, and marine pollution liability often crop up in maritime claims.

    A maritime claim often depends on whether the injured party was on the vessel or going from a wharf, boat, barge, platform, or  ship at the time of his personal injury; whether the ship was located on navigable waters; whether the boat or platform the injured person was on was actually a “vessel”; whether the injured person was a “seaman” or “longshoreman” at the time of the injury; what the seaman was doing at the time of his injury; who the seaman was working for at the time of your injury; and how long you had been working for that particular company performing that type of work aboard contributing to the function of that vessel or fleet of vessels.

    Maritime claims include maintenance and cure, unseaworthiness, Jones Act, Longshore and Harbors Workers, passengers, negligence, wrongful death, negligence search and rescue, and damages.

    American Seaman are entitled to maintenance (subsistence) and cure (medical care) as well as unearned wages when injured or taken ill while the seaman is in the course and scope of his employment.  Maintenance and cure (M&C) is an obligation of the shipowner, vessel and captain/master that is predicated on the employer-employee relationship.  If the seaman is subject to the call of the vessel at the time of his injury or illness the seaman is entitled to M&C.  It matters not if the injury occurred on land or sea.

    The American Seaman is entitled to the protection and benefits of the General Maritime Law and the Jones Act.  The “Jones Act Seaman” are a smaller class of workers than those “seam” entitled to the warranty of seaworthiness.  The Jones Act status is based upon the employer-employee relation of American seaman while the warranty of seaworthiness under the general maritime law is a species of liability without fault. 

    Under the Jones Act the American seaman has to show some slight degree of fault on the owner in causing or contributing to the seaman’s injuries to make a damage recovery.

    Under the warranty of seaworthiness, the shipowner has an absolute and nondelegable duty to the seaman to provide a vessel that is reasonably fit for its intended purpose.

    A “seaman” in the maritime personal injury context is a person who spends a significant time on board a vessel as a crew member or captain while the vessel is in navigation on navigable waters and the seaman is injured while contributing to the function of the vessel.

    “Significant amount of time aboard vessel” - at least 30% of the time of the seaman must be on a specific vessel or specific fleet of vessels.

    Master or captain is the person in charge of the vessel.

    Crew members are persons who are members of the ships company who are necessary for the operation of the vessel at sea and includes the master (captain), officers and unlicensed personnel generally.  A mere guest aboard the vessel is not a member of the ship’s crew.  The test is whether the person is performing in the ship’s service with the shipowner’s consent.  Question is whether the person is performing the “traditional work of the seaman”.

    “Vessel in navigation” - is determined by the “totality” of the circumstances.  It is a status test for the vessel, i.e., the vessel is either in navigation or withdrawn from navigation.  In general, when the vessel is on shore or in dry dock and its crew have been discharged and the operating certificate has been expired the vessel is not in navigation. 

     “Navigable waters” to be navigable depends on the public navigability of the river, stream, lake, channel, ocean, or canal as highways of commerce, inland waters, interstate or foreign and connected in their ordinary condition or with other public navigable waterways.  The waters must be used or susceptible of being used as highways for commerce, over which trade and travel are or may be used in their customary modes.

    A seaman ‘contributes to the function of the vessel” if the seaman’s work adds to accomplishment of the vessel’s mission.


    Contact The Harvin Law Firm, APLC  if you want to know more about your maritime rights and for an evaluation of your monetary damages for your personal injury claim.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this web site advertisement is intended to convey general information.  It should not be considered legal advice or opinion.  It is not an offer to represent you (as only a written signed legal contract by an authorized Harvin Law Firm attorney may do so), nor is it intended to nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Any emails sent via the Internet using the email address or text messages using the cell phone listed in this web site are not confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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The Harvin Law Firm, APLC

Bank of Louisiana Building
636 Gause Blvd Ste. 303
Slidell, LA 70458
Office 985-781-8885
Providing Legal Services to clients in Southeast Louisiana, New Orleans, the Northshore Of St. Tammany Parish, Washington Parish and the City Courts of Slidell And Bogalusa.