One of the most common questions asked about maritime lawyers is “What is a maritime lawyer and what do they do?”
A Maritime Lawyer is an attorney that specializes in maritime injuries and boating accidents that occur in both recreational and commercial maritime activities. Maritime lawyers protect not only seamen who are injured on the job, but maritime attorneys also protect those who are involved in recreational boating accident injuries.
The types of activities that maritime attorneys may conduct include trying cases in court, drafting documents, negotiating agreements and handling complaints about injuries or illnesses caused by various types of marine vessel or sea craft, as well as companies dumping hazardous waste into the sea.
WHAT IS MARITIME LAW?
As one of the oldest branches of law, maritime law, also know as admiralty law, pre-dates the constitution. Maritime law is defined as “law that relates to commerce and navigation on the high seas and other navigable waters and that is administered by the admiralty courts” (source). Maritime law generally encompasses both local laws U.S. law as well as international laws. These laws provide the rules that govern torts, injuries, contracts and any type of offense that occurs near a body of navigable water, on a body of navigable water or in a body of navigable water.
Houston, unlike most other major urban areas in Texas, is a coastal city. So, the water plays a large role in Houston’s economy and culture. The Port of Houston is one of the busiest seaports in the world.
Every day, hundreds, if not thousands, of commercial and personal watercraft use Galveston Bay, Trinity Bay, the East Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico to get to and from docks in Houston.
Not all of these trips are uneventful. Accidents happen on and around the water all the time. These are known as maritime accidents, meaning of or having to do with the sea.
At Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers our maritime attorneys represent clients who have suffered injuries in maritime accidents that include:
- Personal watercraft accidents
- Cruise ship accidents
- Military/Navy accidents
- Barge accidents
- Tugboat accidents
- Tanker accidents
- Cargo ship accidents
- Shipyard accidents
- Deck accidents
- Slips and falls
- Explosions and fires
- Basket transfer accidents
- Commercial fishing accidents
- Offshore drilling and rig accidents
- Jack-up rig accidents, and more.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a worker who was injured while working on a dock or out on the high seas, or if you got hurt while enjoying some recreational time out on the water. Our personal injury lawyers in Houston are here to help. We will carefully investigate your case, determine all possible courses of legal action, and help you fight to get the money you deserve. Your first consultation is free, so contact our Houston law firm a call today to learn more.
WHY SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY FOR HELP WITH MY MARITIME INJURY CASE?
Accidents don’t just happen on dry land. They also happen on docks, in shipyards, and out at sea. When they do, injury claims can be challenging. Does your case fall under state or federal jurisdiction? Which United States maritime law governs your case?
If you were working, are you entitled to maintenance and cure – the maritime equivalent of workers’ compensation? These are all important questions. In order to get the answers you need, it’s important to enlist the help of a qualified and experienced Houston maritime injury lawyer.
At Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers our experienced lawyers understand how physically and emotionally devastating maritime injuries can be. We also know how much of an impact money can make in the weeks, months, and years that follow.
You can trust that we’ll draw on our considerable experience and vast financial resources to help you in your time of need. When you hire us to handle your maritime injury case, you can expect us to:
Investigate: We can’t be your best advocate unless we know what caused your accident, why you got hurt, and who is responsible. So, we’ll roll up our sleeves and scrutinize your maritime accident from every possible angle. We’ll gather evidence, interview witnesses, subpoena documents, and consult with experts.
We’ll do whatever it takes to answer these fundamental questions so that we can build the strongest possible claim on your behalf.
Research: Maritime law is complex. Depending on the circumstances of your case, one or more maritime laws might apply to your case. This includes:
- The Jones Act
- Longshore Act
- Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)
- Death on the High Seas Act
- Longshoreman & Harbor Workers Compensation Act, and
- Limitation of Liability Act.
There are also more general maritime laws that might be applicable. Our team will carefully review the specifics of your case to determine which laws apply and how those laws can be used to help you recover the compensation to which you’re entitled. Our detailed approach can help to ensure that you are fully compensated for all of your maritime injuries.
Bring in Experts: Maritime accidents are unlike those that happen on land. It’s a whole different world out there. In order to make sure that we really understand your case, we’ll bring in specialists, professionals, and experts to help us paint a more detailed picture of what happened.
This might include former military personnel, engineers, forensics specialists, mechanical experts, doctors, and marine safety experts. The more we understand the nuts and bolts of your case, the better prepared we’ll be to fight for you.
Negotiate and, If Necessary, Litigate: We will work tirelessly to negotiate a fair settlement offer on your behalf. We’ll stand toe-to-toe with multi-national corporations, insurance companies, employers, and at-fault parties. We’ll invest whatever time, money, and resources are necessary to do so.
However, we’ll never take the threat of a trial off the table. At Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers our legal team is well-known for their successes in the courtroom. If negligent or responsible parties don’t cooperate, we won’t hesitate to bring your case to a jury so that you have the opportunity to get the money you deserve.
LEADING CAUSES OF OFFSHORE AND MARITIME ACCIDENTS IN HOUSTON
Accidents on docks, in shipyards, and on vessels aren’t uncommon in and around Houston. Many of these accidents are the result of:
- Defective machinery or equipment
- Inadequately hiring, training, and/or supervising employees
- Not following industry rules and regulations
- Not following company safety protocols
- Unsafe working conditions
- Inclement weather
- Drugs and/or alcohol
- Rushing or working too fast due to pressure from an employer
- Overworking and fatigue, and
- A lack of necessary safety equipment.
There’s a common thread here – negligence. Accidents, for the most part, should be avoidable. However, they happen when someone – whether it’s a worker or employer – doesn’t exercise the degree of care that’s necessary to stay safe. When you get hurt due to someone else’s negligence – or even your own, in some cases – you might be entitled to compensation.
Our team represents all injured maritime workers – including longshore and harbor workers. Call us to find out how we can help you fight to recover damages for your offshore injuries and pain and suffering.
COMMON MARITIME ACCIDENT INJURIES IN HOUSTON, TX
Accidents on board a ship, vessel, or dock can be particularly frightening. The fact that you’re near or surrounded by water can raise the stakes. No matter what type of accident you were in or what type of injury you’ve sustained, Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help.
We will stand by your side and fight to get money for all of your maritime injuries – big or small – including:
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries, including those caused by blunt force trauma, chemical exposure, and oxygen deprivation
- Back and neck injuries
- Head injuries
- Amputation and lost limbs
- Spinal cord damage
- Crushing injuries
- Wrongful death, and more.
Contact our Houston law firm today to discuss your maritime injury case in detail. Are your injuries so severe that you’re unable to leave your home or the hospital? That shouldn’t stop you from getting the help you need. So, we can arrange a time to come to you. Just give us a call today to learn more.
WERE YOU INJURED WHILE WORKING ON THE HIGH SEAS?
Maritime law provides that employers must provide “maintenance and cure” for injured or sick workers. This is kind of like workers’ compensation for employees who get hurt while working on land. However, unlike workers’ compensation claims, “doubts and ambiguities” are resolved in favor of injured seamen – not the employer. That’s definitely a benefit for seamen and offshore workers who put their lives at risk on the open seas.
What is maintenance and cure? Maintenence refers to compensation for an injured worker’s day-to-day expenses, such as lost wages and income. Cure refers to compensation for the cost of an injured worker’s medical care.
Employers are required to pay maintenance and cure until a worker is deemed fit for duty or reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI). In other words, you’re entitled to maintenance and cure benefits until you can return to work or you’ve recovered as much as you ever will.
YOU WILL HAVE A LIMITED TIME TO FILE A MARITIME INJURY CLAIM IN HOUSTON
Here’s one reason why it’s important to know which personal injury and/or maritime laws might apply to your case – different laws impose different statutes of limitations. For example, a Jones Act Claim brought by injured seamen must be filed within three years of the date of injury.
Claims filed under Texas personal injury law have to be brought within two years of your accident. Maritime claims involving a government entity are subject to accelerated rules, meaning that you could have a matter of months to demand compensation.
Missing the applicable statute of limitations means that you will be barred from getting the money you deserve. So, protect yourself and safeguard your rights by calling Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as you can after your maritime accident. We can begin to work on your maritime injury case right away.