All legal woes can be a headache, but you run into particularly murky waters when you’re dealing with maritime litigation. Unlike other criminal, civil rights, or commercial litigation issues, maritime litigation sometimes involve international disputes (and sometimes unknown jurisdictions), making it very complicated to sort out.
The laws surrounding maritime litigation can be complicated to navigate, if you have a maritime litigation issue, we recommend that you read our list of tips carefully.
Four Tips for Finding the Right Maritime Litigation Lawyer
- Look for expertise.
The thing with maritime litigation is that it adds an extra layer of complication to whatever the root litigation issue is. For example, if you were injured at sea, you can’t just follow the (already complicated) personal injury litigation process to work it out. However, most personal injury lawyers will still gladly accept your business (and money), without telling you they aren’t properly equipped to get you the best settlement (or defense) possible.
While you are selecting a lawyer to represent your cause for a legal issue at sea, always look for a lawyer who has experience with maritime law specifically. Not only their expertise help them identify the best course of action for working out your legal predicament, they likely will have relationships with the other judges and council who will be working on your case, as well as other experts in the maritime industry that will be beneficial to your case.
- Look for track record.
What do you call the lowest scoring law student to pass the bar? A lawyer.
It’s not enough to just find yourself a lawyer who specializes in maritime litigation. They might have worked in legal issues at sea, but if they have never won a case like yours, there’s a slim chance that you’ll have much success either.
Before you choose a lawyer to represent you in your maritime law issues, makes sure to ask for examples of similar cases to yours that the lawyer successfully handled. If the situation allows it, ask for the contact information from other clients the lawyer has worked with, so you that you can personally ask about the success and satisfaction of the client in the cases that are similar to yours.
- Look for options that avoid court.
Going to court is time consuming. The more time that a lawyer spends on your case, the more it costs you. When you go through the official court process, you have to follow laws and court procedures that have been piled on top of each other for centuries. A lot of this rigmarole isn’t really applicable to your case, or necessary anymore.
Some maritime litigation lawyers understand this and will help you work out your maritime legal woe outside of the court. They might suggest going through arbitration if the other party will agree to it, or mediation and settling out of court, if possible. The point is, there are options for working out maritime litigation issues that prevent you from having your day in court. Look for a lawyer who is focused on what will achieve the best outcome for you, not just what will achieve the most billable hours for them.
- Look for a feasible payment structure.
Your focus while looking for a lawyer should not be who is the cheapest. When you use an under equipped lawyer, because they cost less than the “big guys,” you end up paying more in the long run, when the outcome of the case is less than favorable for you.
That being said, when you’re in the throws of a legal issue, you often are the least equipped to pay an arm and a leg for a good lawyer. Fortunately, many of the good lawyers understand this, and offer a pricing plan where you don’t pay any money up front. If your maritime law issue involves a personally injury claim, your lawyer might only require payment from your settlement, depending on how much your settlement is worth. For other maritime law issues, you might be able to work out a payment plan with your lawyer. The take home here is that you shouldn’t feel like the cost of a good lawyer prevents you from getting the legal representation you deserve.
Do you have any other questions about finding a maritime litigation lawyer? Please share below!