Houston Maritime Injury Attorneys
A maritime injury lawyer in Houston can help you navigate the waters when you are hurt working a maritime job. After the dangerous accident itself, juggling the factors that come afterward can make a bad situation much worse: your insurance company, your employer, maritime companies, medical records…the issues-to-resolve list is long. The last thing you need during these trying times is additional stress.
At Simmons & Fletcher, you can count on us to advocate on your behalf and give you the treatment you deserve. A Houston maritime accident lawyer will walk you through the necessary steps to recover lost wages, and financial damages, and be paid the amount of compensation you need.
An employer must provide a safe area for employees and crew members, and negligent employers must be held accountable when that safety is put at risk. If you have experienced injury or illness related to a maritime accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
There are many types of accidents and bodies of law that apply when you suffer a maritime accident. With a successful history of securing positive outcomes for maritime cases on behalf of our clients, our personal injury law firm can walk you through exactly what laws and legal options apply to your situation, and provide you with the legal representation you need. Call an experienced Houston maritime injury attorney for a free consultation today at (713) 932-0777.
What is a Maritime Accident?
A maritime accident refers to an accidental injury or death involving persons working on or around navigable waters–bodies of water used for interstate or international commerce within the United States or foreign territories, including interconnected systems of lakes, rivers seas, and oceans. This often involves serious injuries sustained while working on oil platforms, boats, cargo ships, commercial vessels, and other similar sea-faring vessels or along shoreline docks, sea terminals, or rivers around or connecting to the Gulf of Mexico.
Maritime accidents can include oil rig explosions and jack-up rig accidents, with the most common causes of ship accidents being malfunctioning equipment, fires, and explosions. Faulty oil and gas pipelines are also frequent causes in cases involving maritime injury claims and offshore workers. Maritime law applies to a number of situations and individuals, impacting anyone from passengers to harbor construction workers.
Why Do You Need a Houston Maritime Accident Lawyer?
Your first priority after a maritime accident should be seeking immediate medical attention. Next, hire a Houston maritime accident lawyer for help filing an accident report. After you hire a maritime lawyer, they can gather evidence and file your claim. Initiating a state or federal court case is intimidating, which is why the Houston maritime lawyers at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. are dedicated to helping you understand the specific terms and technicalities surrounding maritime laws.
We know that understanding your legal options can be confusing. Each supportive and qualified maritime attorney on our team will be able to give you a free consultation. If our firm is a good match for your case, we will help you file a maritime lawsuit so you can receive the compensation you deserve. To navigate insurance companies, maritime employers, or endless payments for medical treatments, having a highly-skilled Houston maritime accident attorney can make a significant difference.
Another way a Houston maritime accident lawyer can help you is by informing you of your most crucial rights:
- You have the right to choose your doctor;
- You are entitled to medical treatment;
- You are not required to give or sign a statement.
To further discuss your rights and how a Houston maritime accident lawyer may be able to play a part in earning you just compensation for your injury, complete this form so our personal injury attorneys can get in touch with you as soon as possible.
What Type of Maritime Claim Can I File?
Depending upon the injured person’s status, he may have several types of claims available to file, including a claim under the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbormen’s Act, or state common law personal injury laws. An experienced maritime injury lawyer can determine the proper status of an injured worker so that the right claim may be filed.
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also called the Jones Act is one example of a federal maritime law that protects workers and provides them with compensation after a work injury or injury aboard an ocean or sea vessel. Those who work on offshore oil rigs are generally covered by the Jones Act as well. Oil rig workers can contact a Houston maritime accident lawyer to see if they are eligible to file Jones Act claims.
While the Jones Act provides you with comprehensive benefits after your injury, it can be complicated to determine if you are covered under the Act and to make a claim. For help, contact Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. today to speak with a Houston maritime accident lawyer. We have represented injured maritime workers throughout the state of Texas and the surrounding areas and our Jones Act lawyers can put our legal knowledge and experience to work for you.
Am I Eligible for a Jones Act Claim?
The Jones Act covers sailors, seamen, and other maritime workers who are working aboard either an ocean or sea vessel that is not fixed to the ocean floor. Those working for shipping companies or on oil rigs, offshore platforms, or an SPV may also be covered under the Jones Act. The Jones Act gives injured workers the right to sue their employers if they experience maritime injuries due to negligence.
If you are an eligible maritime or offshore worker and you qualify for benefits under the Jones Act, you also must prove that your injury occurred in the course of performing work duties and that your employer was negligent in some way that led to your injury. This is different from state workers’ compensation protection which provides maritime employees and workers with coverage regardless of whether an employer was negligent.
It is also important to note that those who are not eligible for a Jones Act claim may be eligible to make a claim for compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. If you are unsure about your eligibility, contact today a Houston maritime accident lawyer.
Generally, there is a maximum 3-year statute of limitations on maritime claims. This means you have three years from the time of your incident to report the accident and bring a lawsuit to the at-fault party. Call Simmons & Fletcher, P.C. to speak with one of our maritime attorneys as soon as possible to begin the process of filing a lawsuit: (713) 932-0777.
What Compensation Can I Get Under the Jones Act?
The Jones Act allows not only for coverage of medical costs and payment for disability and/or reduced income/earning potential, but it can also provide financial compensation for pain and suffering and other economic and non-economic losses. It provides more comprehensive coverage than either state workers’ compensation benefits or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This is an important difference from the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which does not provide any payment for pain and suffering.
What is the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, also known as LHWCA, takes the place of state workers’ compensation laws to allow benefits to workers who are injured while working and when performing certain designated maritime activities. State Worker’s Compensation does not cover maritime workers.
Who Does the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Cover?
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act covers individuals who work on the navigable waterways of the United States or who work on the areas adjoining the navigable waterways of the U.S. This can include those who work on piers, docks, loading terminals, stationary platforms, dry dock areas, and oil rigs. However, while the Jones Act provides coverage to individuals who are based on boats or vessels, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act covers those who are based ashore and providing services offshore. The LWHCA also covers offshore drilling workers thanks to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
What Does the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Cover?
When you make a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, your benefits are determined based on an administrative system that is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor. These benefits can include coverage for medical costs and can include total disability benefits. Such benefits may be partial or temporary. Keep in mind that ‘pain and suffering’ as an element of damage is not generally covered and you cannot typically file a civil lawsuit to recover against your employer for work-related injuries that occurred while you were performing your duties as a longshoreman.
What Laws Does the Maritime Industry Have to Follow?
Accidents that occur in or around a body of water are treated differently than land incidents like truck or motor vehicle accidents. Jurisdiction over maritime injury cases was originally under federal law, although today you can bring a maritime injury claim to state court or federal courts. This is due to the Saving to Suitors Clause. However, an admiralty case or claim that involves maritime property must be heard in federal court.
Maritime accidents have a distinct set of laws that apply to any injury at sea and subsequent maritime injury claims. Often called admiralty law, these laws aim to protect passengers from accidents caused by negligence. This may be applied to cruise ships and other water-based leisurely activities which must adhere to offering vessels that are safe. Admiralty law helps protect your rights if you have suffered from illness or injury at sea.
Doctrine of Unseaworthiness
This doctrine states that the vessel owner has a duty to provide a seaworthy ship, and any accidents caused by the vessel’s unseaworthiness are their responsibility.
Death on the High Seas Act
DOHSA applies when an individual has lost their life as a result of a wrongful act.
Due to the complexities of maritime laws, the process of going forward with your claim can be daunting. Let us help you navigate your legal rights, insurance information, and the specifics of maritime and admiralty laws. Contact a Houston maritime accident law firm today to bring a claim to court and your case to justice.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Maritime Unseaworthiness Claim?
If you are injured while at sea and the ship you were on is shown to be unseaworthy, you are entitled to recover damages. Those damages may include compensation for the following:
- Medical costs past and future
- Loss of wages and loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Mental anguish
- Physical limitations
From medical expenses to loss of income, our experienced Houston maritime attorneys can fight to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our firm for a free case review today.
Types of Accidents and Injuries in Maritime Law Cases
Maritime accidents can lead to a range of catastrophic injuries by which maritime workers can be detrimentally impacted. Maritime workers may experience exposure to toxic chemicals, traumatic brain injuries, and head injuries, slip and falls, back and spinal cord injuries, or burn injuries from a machinery fire. Whatever type of offshore injury you have experienced, you have a right to compensation.
In any type of case, a Houston maritime accident lawyer can help. Contact Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., if you have suffered a serious injury related to the following:
- Oil Rig Accidents
- Cruise Ship Accidents
- Oil Tanker Ship Accident
- Drillship Accident
- Riverboat Accident
- Barge Accidents
- Shrimp Boat Accidents
- Tug Boat Accident
- Offshore Accidents
- Commercial Fishing Accidents
- Dredge Accidents
- Shipyard Accidents
- Deck Accidents
- Cargo Ship Accidents
Free Consultation with a Houston Maritime Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or suffered a wrongful death due to an accident at sea or on the docks, call us for a free consultation. Maritime accident laws can be confusing and hard to wade through. The maritime injury lawyers at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., understand the hazards of offshore and maritime employment and are here to answer your questions. Call (713) 932-0777 today for a free consultation with our Houston maritime accident law firm.