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Maritime Law Glossary L - N

Glossary A - B | Glossary C | Glossary D - F | Glossary G - J | Glossary O - P | Glossary R - S | Glossary T - Z


Last Clear Chance Rule – A rule that a plaintiff who was contributorily negligent may nevertheless recover from the defendant if the defendant had the last opportunity to prevent the harm but failed to use reasonable care to do so. This doctrine has been abandoned in most jurisdictions upon the adoption of comparative fault schemes of recovery.

Lien – A legal right or interest that a creditor has in another’s property. The right or interest typically exists until the debt or duty that secured the lien is satisfied.

Limitation of Liability – A federal or state law that limits the type of damages that may be recovered from a particular person or group or that limits the time in which an individual can file a legal claim against a particular person or group.

Limitation of Shipowner's Liability Act – A federal statute enacted in 1851 that limits the liability of a shipowner’s liability to the value of the vessel after an accident when the accident is not attributable to negligence or unseaworthiness on the part of the shipowner.

Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act – A federal law that provides workers’ compensation benefits to persons, other than seamen, who work in maritime occupations.

Longshoreman – A maritime worker who labors on the wharves in a port. Most commonly, a longshoreman is a dock worker who loads and unloads ships.

Lost Earning Capacity – Lost earning capacity is a type of damages recoverable by an injured plaintiff in maritime law. Lost earning capacity refers to the lost income from the plaintiff's employment at the time of the injury. If a plaintiff is unemployed or underemployed following the injury, or unable to return to work, the plaintiff may also be able to recover the loss of future earnings beyond actual wage losses. In order to recover a loss of future earnings, an injured plaintiff must prove that his or her future earnings will be impaired as a result of the injury, which typically requires a showing of some physical disability that will prevent the plaintiff from securing employment in the future.


Maintenance and Cure – Under the Jones Act, compensation provided to a seaman who becomes sick or injured while a member of a vessel’s crew. The obligation applies to illness or injury whether or not arising out of shipboard duties.

Major-Minor Fault Rule – The principle that if the fault of one vessel in a collision is undisputed and sufficient to account for the accident, then the other vessel is presumed not to have been at fault for the accident.

Maritime – Connected with the sea; of or relating to the sea navigation or commerce.

Maritime Administration – A division of the U.S. Department of Transportation responsible for subsidizing certain costs of operating ships for the United States.

Maritime Employment – Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, a job that is related to the loading, unloading, construction or repair of a vessel.

Maritime Law – The body of law governing marine commerce, navigation and the carriage of persons and property on navigable waters.

Maritime Peril – A danger or risk arising from navigating or being at sea.

Mediation – A method of nonbinding dispute resolution involving a neutral third party who attempts to help the disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable solution.

Medical Expenses – Expenses incurred in obtaining medical treatment or healthcare. In civil litigation, medical expenses include any medical costs incurred or to be incurred by the plaintiff caused by the defendant’s alleged wrongful act.


Negligence – An individual’s failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation. Negligence also refers to any conduct that falls below a statutory duty of care established to protect others against unreasonable risks of harm. Under the Jones Act, a seaman may bring a civil action against his employer under a theory of negligence.

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