Admiralty Lawyers


Working on the Water

Admiralty Lawyers

If you were injured while on the water, the laws governing guilty parties are different than those on land. This is not a case to trust to just any lawyer. You need an attorney with the experience and know-how to go up against the big insurance companies to secure the amount of money you deserve.


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Injured maritime employees will typically be entitled to benefits under either the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).


The Jones Act covers employees who fall within the Act’s definition of “seamen,” which includes employees who spend at least a third of their time working on the vessel that employs them. Such vessels may include offshore oil drilling platforms barges, ferries, and all other watercraft.


The LHWCA extends certain maritime protections to employees at docks, harbors, dry storage facilities, and dry land operations that provide maintenance and repair services to oceangoing ships.

Maritime Lawyers for Over 60 Years

Anchored in History

The body of common law and statutes that evolved into modern maritime and admiralty law has roots that are thousands of years old. Specific provisions of admiralty law were adopted between England and the American colonies to govern torts and contract issues that arose in trading over the high seas. In modern times, maritime law encompasses those provisions and all other laws and regulations that apply to the sea and all other navigable waters.

The admiralty law attorneys of Rutter Mills have in-depth expertise in maritime and admiralty law developed through their long history of representing maritime plaintiffs in matters including :

  • Offshore injuries
  • Boating accidents- recreational and commercial
  • Wrongful death claims (“Death on the High Seas”)
  • Oil rig explosions and other platform accidents
  • Longshore and Harbor Workers Act
  • Jones Act

What is Admiralty Law?

Admiralty law and maritime law are synonymous terms.  Admiralty law supports commerce, travel, and trade over the high seas and other bodies of water. These laws protect the safety, employment rights, and privileges of seamen, dockworkers, passengers, and any related individual or business entity. The provisions of admiralty and maritime law apply not only to ocean-going ships, but also to ferries, harbor tugboats, barges, commercial fishing operations, offshore oil drilling platforms, and any other vessels or facilities that operate within bodies of water.

The United States has enacted many of the traditional common law provisions of admiralty law into statutes that govern maritime operations. Those statutes give federal courts primary jurisdiction over such matters. Rutter Mills’ managing partner, Brother Rutter, has vast experience defending admiralty law. In this video, he explains the difference between the laws that govern accidents on land versus accidents on the water.

Unique Admiralty Law Situations

Owners and operators of seagoing vessels and structures have an absolute obligation to provide “maintenance and cure” to injured seamen and other employees until the injured or ill party no longer shows signs of improvement. That means the ships owner needs to make sure your medical bills are paid and you are back on your feet.

Injuries to passengers on vessels traveling any navigable waterway in the US are covered by maritime law provisions.  Injured passengers will still be required to demonstrate how a party’s negligence caused an injury. However, the procedures that appy to the prosecution of these matters, including the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, will likely be different from injury claims on land.

If a lien is placed on a maritime vessel, for example, for non-payment of financing fees, a federal admiralty court may order a seizure or direct arrest that ship. Any lawsuit for recovery for the non-payment may then proceed directly against the vessel itself rather than against its owners or proprietors.

Salvage operators who recover goods from shipwrecks have legal options when it comes to claiming ownership. They can do it in an admiralty court, and have the value determined there. They can contract directly with the proprietor of the lost ship to claim ownership of those goods.


Years Winning Maritime Cases


Convenient Offices in Hampton Roads

Team Size

Team Members Ready to Help

The practice of admiralty law requires a very detailed understanding of the unique circumstances that arise in open water and the effect they have related to issues of duty, proximate cause, and liability. 

Complexity of Admiralty Law


Determining Where to File 

For matters that take place within the navigable waters of the United States, the Constitution and federal statutes confer maritime law jurisdiction on U.S. Federal Courts. State courts are authorized to hear maritime cases that involve local state matters, but those courts are obligated to apply federal maritime statutes and laws to the issues in those cases. Maritime jurisdiction is often one of the more complex threshold matters in admiralty and maritime cases, particularly if an injury occurs when a vessel is in international waters.

The Virginia maritime law attorneys at Rutter Mills have extensive experience in maritime law equipping them with in-depth knowledge of the complexities of the industry, the regulations governing it, and the legal rights of maritime workers. This expertise enables us to provide the best possible legal representation to our clients. Two generations of firm owners have help the position as President of the Maritime Injury Law Association, helping shape the way admiralty law is practiced in the US.

Contact an admiralty attorney for expert legal guidance

A Rutter Mills case is a serious case. It may mean you have been badly injured. It certainly means you have a lot on the line, and the resolution of your case will make a big difference to you, your family, and your life moving forward.

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At Rutter Mills,
every case is a serious case-because it's your case.

Rutter Mills Law Firm

Personal Injury

We are here for you in your time of need, providing compassionate guidance and aggressive advocacy in a wide range of personal injury matters. Our top-rated attorneys will fight the insurance companies and get you back on your feet.

Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal Injury Lawyers

Car Accidents

We’re here to listen. A member of our team will meet with you, focusing on not only what happened, but also what you are going through and how it’s impacted your life. Then we’ll tell you what options are available to you to get on the road to recovery.

Car Accident Lawyers
Car Accident Lawyers

Maritime/Jones Act Law

Personal injuries that happen when you’re working – or playing – on the water aren’t governed by “the law of the land.” They are subject to maritime laws under the Jones Act– also known as admiralty law.

Maritime Lawyers

Motorcycle Accidents

We’re here to listen. A member of our team will meet with you, focusing on listening to not only what happened, but also what you are going through and how it’s impacted your life.

Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are often serious. We are here to listen to your story so we can guide you to healing. Our team has represented some of the largest truck accident cases in Virginia. Call us and see how we can help you today.

Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck Accident Lawyers

Workers Compensation

If you’ve been injured on the job, workers’ compensation insurance may entitle you to critical assistance like medical treatment, lost wages, and more. But insurance companies will put up an aggressive fight to resist paying you the compensation you need and deserve. Rutter Mills can help get you the money you deserve.

Workers Compensation Lawyers
Workers Comp Lawyer
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Real People. True Stories.


You don’t have to worry about the bills, just get healthy.

Dave Put His Trust in Us

Don’t Fall For The Insurance Company’s Games

Dave suffered serious injuries in a car accident. The defendant’s insurance company tried to offer him a low amount so Dave called Rutter Mills. We took over dealing with the insurance and got Dave the money he needed to get back on his feet.

They enabled me to be happy in life again.

Get Back On Track

Protecting Your Future

Glenn’s car accident changed his life, but not permanently thanks to the help of his Rutter Mills attorney. When the insurance companies wouldn’t help him, our team fought back and won.

I knew I needed Rutter Mills.

Fighting For What's Right

Getting Justice

On his way home from work at the shipyard, Dan was involved in an accident. He tried to file a claim on his own, but the insurance company wouldn’t give him the money he needed to put his life back on track. Dan knew he needed to call Rutter Mills.

They actually won my case 3 times!

Larena's Win

After her car accident, Larena asked her father, a local stevedore, for his advice on who to call. He recommended Rutter Mills. Her team of car accident experts at Rutter Mills fought back when the insurance companies tried to deny her the money she needed to recuperate from her injuries. We took her case to trial – and won. When the insurance company filed their appeals, we beat them again – two more times! Larena got the money she needed and the justice she deserved.

We’re going to immediately call Rutter Mills. That’s the people I trust with my baby girl.

Who Do You Trust With Your Family?

After a car accident, Jamaree’s first call was to her mom. She was shaken up and scared. Mom told her “We’re calling Rutter Mills. Her next was to Rutter Mills. Her Rutter Mills car accident team helped her get compensation “above & beyond” what she was expecting.

They lifted allot of stress off my shoulders. I recommend them to anybody because they WILL fight for you.

Who Can You Turn To?

Referrals From Friends and Family

After John was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, he turned to the person he trusts most for a recommendation. His wife, a paralegal of 30 years, told him to call Rutter Mills on the advice of the lawyer she worked for.

They really care for you as a person. Words cannot describe what Rutter Mills did for me and for my case.

When You Need Someone In Your Corner

Don’t Go It Alone

When the insurance company tried to get Carol to sign paperwork after her car accident, she knew she needed a lawyer. Carol knew she needed Rutter Mills.

When I called Rutter Mills, I knew it was the right fit. They’re so interested in helping you get justice.

Getting The Justice You Deserve

When Mom Needs Strength

Taryn was in a car accident while she was pregnant. She knew she needed someone in her corner to protect her rights and her family’s future.

There’s attorneys, then there’s Rutter Mills.

We're Here When The Unexpected Happens


A devasting accident changed Levon’s life forever. The physical and emotional toll left him scared and in pain. When the insurance company for the defendant contacted the family, they made an offer that did not even cover the cost of the medication, much less doctors’ bills, and physical therapy. They knew they needed to talk to a serious lawyer. Rutter Mills took care of the negotiation so Levon could focus on healing.

When you’ve got a serious injury, you need a serious lawyer. That’s why we chose Rutter Mills.

Motorcycle Accidents Change Everything

When Ed was injured in a motorcycle crash, he knew he needed a serious lawyer to protect his rights. The insurance companies were fighting him every step of the way. Rutter Mills helped prove Ed’s case and get him the money he needed to get on the road to recovery.

With the seriousness of the accident, I knew that we needed a serious lawyer. I needed Rutter Mills.

Carol & Levon's Story

They knew they needed a serious lawyer when Carol and her son were seriously injured. After the other party’s insurance company tried to get her to settle for less than she needed, Carol called Rutter Mills for help. We took on the insurance company so she could focus on healing.

Watch his 30 second testimonial video
Watch Glenn's 30 second story
Watch Dan's 30 second video
Watch Larena's 30 second story
Watch Jamaree's 30 second video
Watch Levon's 30 second video
Watch Ed's 30 second story
Watch Carl's 30 second video


Don’t just take our word for it, see what our clients are saying about Rutter Mills.

Daniel M

Adam Lotkin, Max Baker, and the team behind them are amazing people. They did a great job with communicating and explaining each step of the process and they do the absolute best in ensuring their clients are taken care of. For my case in specific, we expected to wait 2 year to settle l, but through the team’s hard work and a little luck, it was settled in less than a year. I would not hesitate to come back to them if I ever needed to.

Sarice G.

Mr. Young and Ms. Kathy Saunders went above and beyond for me. The day I walked into Mr. Young's office I thought there was no hope for my case and I would never be made whole. I can say two and a half weeks ago my case was settled above and beyond my expectations. After 4 long years I have finally been made whole. Thank you Mr. Young and Ms Kathy. You saved my life.

Shain S.

Superb service. Being represented by them was a very positive experience. I recommended them on every level. They not only did a wonderful and successful job, but were caring and responsive to my questions and concerns along the way. Ten out of ten.

Sergio C

I generally don’t write reviews. But I wanted to thank all the staff at Rutter Mills for the great job they did on my case. Adam Lotkin, my attorney, was straight forward and solid. He did what he said he would do. He kept reassuring me that I was in good hands, and in the end, he proved, I was. Ruth Simmons, kept me up to date and promptly answered all my questions. Ruth was very thorough and knowledgeable. Selena Day provided backup support and rounded out the team, assisting in putting together my court presentation. The whole staff made me feel like my case was a team effort. When my case was finished, they treated me fairly and worked quickly to pay out my settlement. When going up against large insurance companies, Rutter Mills proved, your law firm does matter. They have experienced, professional people. Thank you all again, for taking a difficult time in my life and making it bearable.

Thomas B.

My experience with Rutter Mills was outstanding from beginning to end. My case was handled in a timely manner and I was kept in the loop throughout the entire process. Outstanding job Rutter Mills!


Stay Informed

Maritime Injury Lawyer Adam Lotkin: Thought Leader

Posted on March 22, 2023 by Adam