Charleston, SC Tugboat

Comprehensive Legal Services From Mt. Pleasant Maritime Attorneys



Our Charleston, SC Maritime Attorneys cover the waterfront in the field of maritime and admiralty law. We represent crew members, boat owners, captains, commercial shipping companies, injured commercial seamen, people injured in pleasure boating accidents and others. We handle local legal claims as well as claims in other locations on behalf of local clients.

Our Charleston, South Carolina, maritime law attorneys can help with a wide range of maritime legal issues (click on the links for additional information for each specific area):

If your legal needs involve these or any of the myriad of other potential admiralty and maritime law issues, please contact the Experienced Charleston, SC Maritime Lawyers at  Cooper and Bilbrey, P.C. in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. We can explain your options and what we can do to assist you.

Admiralty Jurisdiction and Choice of Forum

Because admiralty law is different from landside law in many respects, one of the first steps that must be taken in any case is to determine which body of law will apply. The admiralty preemption doctrine provides that most maritime matters are of such national (rather than local) character and concern that federal law pertaining to such matters takes precedence over state law.

Generally, the courts of the states have concurrent jurisdiction with the federal courts over claims within the scope of federal admiralty jurisdiction. Whenever claims are within the scope of federal admiralty jurisdiction, the plaintiff may choose — with certain exceptions — to bring his or her action in state court, with the right to a jury trial, or federal court, with no right to a jury trial. If there is a basis for federal jurisdiction independent of admiralty jurisdiction, a plaintiff may choose to bring his or her action in federal court, on the civil side, with the right to a jury trial. The Jones Act — enacted to protect seamen employed on ships and sea-going vessels — provides for the right to a jury trial in state or federal courts.

At Cooper and Bilbrey, P.C., our attorneys are experienced at choosing the right forum for each case. If you have questions regarding admiralty and maritime law, please call or email us for a free, confidential consultation with no obligation.

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