How much time do you have to commence your
maritime lawsuit? A critical element of any
maritime injury case is the
statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations is a legal term for
deadline. After that deadline expires, the case will
be time-barred. That means it’s too late to bring
an action. The defendant could have been
outrageously negligent….the victim could have
been left a quadriplegic. The court must dismiss
the case, even if the judge wanted to be
sympathetic to the victim. No matter how strong a
case may be…one has to preserve their rights by
filing an action before the statute of limitations
runs.













































Other statutes of limitation may relate to a
case…some of which are of a maritime nature,
and some of which fall under ordinary civil law.
These causes of action may follow the code of
civil procedure for the state where the action is
pending. Or they may follow federal law. Unlike
maritime law, statutes of limitations are not
uniform throughout the fifty states. As a general
example, a negligence action in New York State
such as a motor vehicle accident has a three year
statute of limitations…but in New Jersey, an
injured motorist only gets two (2) years to bring
an action. New York is more liberal to the plaintiff
in other causes of action also. The statute of
limitations in New York for a medical malpractice
action is two and a half years. Compare this to
two years, which is what the state of Virginia
gives a patient for the same cause of action.

Two lessons to be learned here….make a note of
the day an accident occurred or circumstances
leading to an injury took place…AND if there are
other issues of state law or federal law, learn the
applicable statute of limitations. Other causes of
action may include breach of contract, wrongful
termination, slander, libel, fraud, or intentional
infliction of emotional distress.





Back to Commercial Vessels
Maritime Law Statute of Limitations - Jones Act - Unseaworthiness
Statutes of Limitations in Maritime Injuries - How Long Do You Have - How Much Time to File Marine Injury Lawsuit
In a Jones Act lawsuit, the
statute of limitations is
three (3) years from the
date of the accident giving
rise to the injuries. In an
unseaworthiness lawsuit,
the statute of limitations is
also three (3) years from
the date of the accident
giving rise to the injuries.
Some New York
Statutes of Limitations

Here are a few statutes
of limitations followed in
New York under its rules
for civil procedure
(CPLR). Keep in mind
that your case may
apply the law of a
different state...or may
not apply state law...
depending on the
subject matter,
jurisdictional issues,
conflict of law and other
issues. These are
included merely to bring
attention to the fact that
causes of action
outside those in general
maritime law could
enter the picture.

▪ Intentional Torts - One
Year - these include
defamation (libel &
slander), false
imprisonment,
right to privacy
violations)

▪ Tort Actions Against
City, Town, County -
One Year and 90 Days

▪ Medical Malpractice -
Two & One Half Years

▪Personal Injury - Motor
Vehicle, Slip & Fall on
Premises (non
municipality) - Three
Years

▪Strict Liability in Tort -
Three Years

These are a few general
statutes of limitation.
However, if you have a
matter involving such a
cause of action, check
with the New York
CPLR.
In a Jones Act lawsuit, the statute of limitations is
three (3) years from the date of the accident giving
rise to the injuries. In an unseaworthiness lawsuit,
the statute of limitations is also three (3) years
from the date of the accident giving rise to the
injuries. There is a historic concept in maritime law
known as laches, an extension of the statute of
limitations because of the unusual nature of
maritime employment and difficulties faced by
seamen. Let me put it this way…I wouldn’t pin any
hopes on the laches “safety net”. If the statute of
limitations is blown…the battle is lost before it’s
begun…I live by that rule.