Maritime Law Glossary C

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C

Casualty at Sea – A serious or fatal accident that occurs on navigable waters.

Causation – The producing of an effect. In personal injury lawsuits and under several maritime statutes, a plaintiff is legally required to prove that the defendant’s breach of a legal duty caused his or her injury.

Choice of Law – A legal question of which jurisdiction’s law should apply in a given case. A contract may contain a choice of law clause, in which the contracting parties agree to designate a jurisdiction where the law will govern in any disputes that may arise between the parties.

Collateral Source Rule – A rule that if an injured party receives compensation for the injuries from a source independent of the tortfeasor, the payment should not be deducted from the damages that the tortfeasor must pay. An insurance company is the most common type of collateral source.

Collision – The contact of two or more moving vessels.

Comparative Fault – A plaintiff’s own negligence or carelessness that proportionally reduces the damages recoverable from a defendant. If a plaintiff if partially at fault for the accident, the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced in most cases. A plaintiff’s own fault, however, does not serve as a complete bar to recovery.

Complaint – The initial legal document and pleading that initiates a civil action and the plaintiff’s claim for relief.

Compulsory Pilotage Statute – A requirement, imposed by law in certain jurisdictions, that vessels approaching or leaving a harbor must have a licensed pilot to guide the vessel into or out of the harbor.

Concurrent Jurisdiction – Jurisdiction that can be exercised simultaneously by more than one court over the same subject matter and within the same territory. If two courts have concurrent jurisdiction, a litigant has the right to choose the court in which to file the action.

Conflict of Laws – A difference between the laws of different states or countries in a case in which a transaction or occurrence central to the case has a connection to two or more jurisdictions. A court will apply several factors to determine which set of laws should be applied to a given case when a conflict of laws arises.

Consequential Damages – Losses that result indirectly from an injurious act and do not flow directly and immediately from the act.

Constructive Discharge – A de facto termination of employment that results from an employer making an employee’s working conditions so intolerable that the employee feels compelled to leave employment.

Contract – An agreement or writing between two or more parties creating obligations and rights that are enforceable by law.

Contribution – A tortfeasor’s right to collect from other joint tortfeasors when and to the extent that one tortfeasor has paid above and beyond his or her fair share to the injured party. The shares to be paid in contribution parallel each tortfeasor’s respective percentage of assigned fault.

Contributory Negligence – A doctrine that historically barred a plaintiff from recovery in tort. Under this doctrine, a plaintiff whose negligence contributed to the wrong that caused his or her harm was absolutely barred from recovery of any damages for the injury. Today, contributory negligence no longer operates as a complete bar to recovery. Instead, general rules of comparative negligence apply, and the plaintiff's award is reduced by an apportionment of his or her fault.

Convention on the International Sale of Goods – An international treaty that provides for a uniform code of international sales law.

Counterclaim – A legal claim for relief asserted against an opposing party after an original claim has been made. Typically, a counterclaim is asserted by a defendant against a plaintiff, after the defendant receives a plaintiff’s complaint.

Cross-claim – A claim asserted between co-defendants or co-plaintiffs in a case. A cross-claim must relate to the subject matter of the original claim or counterclaim.

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