Maritime Accidents

Houston Maritime Accident Attorney: Expertise for Your Case on the Gulf Coast

James Walker - Houston's Personal Injury Lawyer The maritime industry is fraught with potential dangers, and accidents are an unfortunate but common occurrence. When you or a loved one have been involved in a maritime accident, it’s important to understand your rights and the compensation you may be entitled to. In these critical moments, hiring an experienced and knowledgeable Houston Maritime Accident Attorney can make all the difference.

As a knowledgeable advocate for maritime accident victims, Walker Texas Lawyer understands the complexities of these cases. He has successfully represented numerous clients. He has a reputation for helping clients recover the maximum amount of compensation. This is compensation for injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

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James Walker, also known as Walker Texas Lawyer, is a seasoned attorney with years of experience representing clients in maritime injury cases. As an expert in the field, he has the know-how to help you navigate the complex world of maritime law, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.

With Walker Texas Lawyer by your side, you can focus on your recovery while he handles the legal aspects of your case. His dedication to his clients and his aggressive approach in the courtroom have earned him a reputation as a tough adversary. He is not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your slip and fall accident case, don’t hesitate to call Walker Texas Lawyer at 713-609-1918 or fill out our online form. He offers a free consultation to discuss the details of your case and provide personalized legal advice.

Why Should I Hire a Houston Maritime Accident Attorney for My Case?

Maritime injury cases are often complex, and you need a skilled attorney who can ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. A Houston Maritime Accident Attorney has the expertise to navigate the various maritime laws and regulations that govern these cases, such as: 

  • Jones Act
  • Death on the High Seas Act
  • Limitation of Liability Act
  • Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act
  • Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

Utilize Expert Resources: The special nature of maritime incidents makes them vastly different from the accidents occurring on land. To thoroughly comprehend the specifics of your case, Walker Texas Lawyer draws on an extensive network of knowledgeable experts, ranging from ex-military members, engineers and forensics specialists to physicians and marine safety experts. This comprehensive approach allows us to gain a deeper insight into the heart of your case and fortifies our fight for justice on your behalf.

Endeavour to Arbitrate and Litigate, If Required: Our approach promises unwavering dedication to negotiate a just settlement for you. James Walker is not afraid to confront multinational corporations, insurance firms, employers, or accountable parties head-on. Rest assured, we commit to investing the required time, energy, and resources to assure your rights are upheld.

Be assured, Walker Texas Lawyer will always keep the option of litigation open. His reputation for courtroom success is renowned. If parties responsible for negligence don’t comply, we stand ready to bring your case before a jury to ensure you access to the compensatory award you justly deserve.

Common Maritime Injury Cases We Handle:

Common Injuries At Sea

Seamen and other maritime workers face a variety of hazards and risks while working at sea or on the shore. Some of the most severe injuries that can occur include:

 

Houston Maritime Accident Lawyer

What’s the difference between Maritime Law, Admiralty Law, and Law of the Sea?

Maritime Law and Admiralty Law are two terms that mean the same thing. They are interchangeable. These are laws that regard the conduct of vessels and incidents occurring at sea or onshore. While Maritime law does govern matters connected to the sea, it does differ from “Law of the Sea.” Law of the Sea governs international trade, mineral rights, jurisdiction over coastal waters, treaties, and relations between countries.

Maritime Law cases are more local in concept. They often involve civil suits, individuals, companies, and representatives of those companies. Many aspects of admiralty law are recognized internationally through multilateral treaties. This is why having a Gulf Coast Maritime Attorney is critical to your case if you are injured at sea.

What Does Admiralty Law Include?

Admiralty law sets forth the following laws involving the sea and seamen:

  • The right of a rescuer to claim a Marine Salvage award for recovering property lost at sea.
  • ship owners must provide reasonable care to passengers.
    • If a passenger’s injury results from negligence, a suit may be against the shipowner.
  • The right to place a Maritime Lien against a vessel if creditors or seamen are due money. This acts as security to make sure those parties get paid.

The benefit of “maintenance and cure” requires ship owners to care for the injured crew.

  • Maintenance obligates ship owners to provide seamen with basic living expenses until they can return to work. Cure obligates ship owners to provide free medical care—even if that care is long-term or permanent.

Jones Act

Some laws would no longer apply if you set sail and leave national boundaries, even if you are a U.S. citizen, employed by a U.S. company, and on a U.S.-registered ship. The Merchant Marine Act is one set of laws created to help restore your protections. The Jones Act is Section 27 of the Marine Merchant Act. It helps govern maritime commerce in U.S. waters between U.S. ports. The Jones Act also includes provisions that have maritime workers’ rights at their core. Those provisions include (among many others):

  • Commerce between U.S. ports can only occur with American-built vessels.
  • The vessel’s owner must use reasonable care and maintain it for safety and seaworthiness. If their negligence lead to an injury, then the owner is liable.
  • Qualifying sailors (officially classified as seamen) who have suffered injuries or illness while at sea can recover appropriate compensation from their employers by a lawsuit if necessary.

Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)

The DOHSA covers passengers on a maritime vessel who are killed outside of the three-mile territorial coast of the United States. This means that families for passengers not employed by the vessel are eligible for DOHSA benefits. These benefits only occur in the event of a high seas death outside the 3mile coastline. For instance, on a cruise ship, the passengers who are using the cruise ship’s service are covered under DOHSA in the event of wrongful death. DOSHA applies only to maritime worker and passenger deaths caused by unseaworthy vessels and/or negligence. Proving negligence can be difficult, particularly because the incident occurred in foreign waters. It takes a detailed investigation to uncover evidence that proves negligence. Negligence is a failure to act with proper care or caution under the circumstances. These complex laws are why getting a Gulf Coast Maritime Lawyer is key.

Limitation of Liability

Maritime law states that the owner of a vessel may be subject to liability for any losses or damages that happen during the voyage. Yet, many ship owners attempt to avoid responsibility for accidents and deaths that occur on their vessels under the Limitation of Liability Act. This act allows owners, in some instances, to limit liability if the vessel’s unseaworthy condition occurs without the owner’s knowledge. The act covers personal injury losses such as deaths and collisions. It also covers cargo losses like loss of property, goods, or merchandise.

The Limitation of Liability Act was enacted nearly 170 years ago. At that time, the hazards of maritime trade were extreme. Vessel owners needed protection. This protection came from limitations on liability to the value of their ship. Today, naval risks are still present. However, we have the tools and resources to mitigate them. Instead of using the Limitation of Liability Act for its intended purpose, some vessel owners are using it to limit injured seamen’s valid claims. They are trying to get around their responsibility to the hard-working employees on their ships. However, an experienced Texas Admiralty Attorney can challenge this act and often win.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law administered by the United States Department of Labor, enacted to provide protection to employees in maritime occupations who are not covered by the Jones Act.

Specifically, the LHWCA provides coverage for workers employed in maritime occupations, including any harbor workers, longshore workers, ship repairmen, shipbuilders, and ship-breakers, and others engaged in maritime employment, principally upon the navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining areas such as piers, terminals, wharves, and those areas used for loading and unloading vessels.

The Act provides medical benefits, lost wage compensation, and rehabilitation services to injured workers. It also provides survivor benefits to dependents if the work-related injury or occupational disease results in death.

Notably, the LHWCA excludes certain workers, even if they are involved in maritime employment. Those workers include ship crew members or masters, and employees of the United States government or of any state or foreign government.

The Longshore Act is complex and navigating the claims process can be challenging. It is essential to enlist the help of a knowledgeable maritime attorney if you need to make a claim under the Longshore Act.

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) was established on August 7, 1953, to provide a legal framework for the administration, exploration, and development of mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), which comprises the submerged lands lying seaward of state coastal waters (3 miles offshore) and fall under U.S. jurisdiction. OCSLA empowers the Secretary of the Interior to grant leases to the highest qualified responsible bidder through sealed competitive bids and to formulate regulations necessary for carrying out the provisions of the Act.

OCSLA was amended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to address uncertainties regarding offshore wind projects. As a result, the Secretary of the Interior currently has ultimate authority over offshore wind projects as well.

The aim of the legislation is to ensure the responsible and sustainable development of the OCS while safeguarding the environment and protecting the interests of both the American public and any individual states affected by activities on the OCS.

Where You Injured While Working Offshore?

Maritime law mandates that employers are responsible for providing “maintenance and cure” to employees who sustain injuries or fall ill while performing their duties. This can be viewed as a form of workers’ compensation for those working at sea. However, unlike land-based workers’ compensation, any doubts or ambiguities tend to be resolved in favor of the injured seamen, not their employers. This is particularly advantageous for maritime personnel who put their lives on the line while working on the open waters.

“Maintenance and cure” explained: Maintenance refers to compensation for an injured employee’s daily living expenses, including lost wages and income. Cure pertains to the financial coverage for the injured worker’s medical care.

Employers must continue paying maintenance and cure until the employee is deemed fit to resume work or reaches a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). In simple terms, you are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits until you can either return to your job or achieve the fullest recovery possible.

There is a limited Time to File a Maritime Injury Claim

Understanding which personal injury and/or maritime laws apply to your specific case is crucial because different laws stipulate varying statutes of limitations. For instance, injured seamen must file a Jones Act Claim within three years from the date of the injury.

On the other hand, Texas personal injury law requires claims to be filed within two years of the accident. Maritime claims involving a government entity face expedited rules, which could leave only a matter of months to pursue compensation.

Failing to meet the relevant statute of limitations will prevent you from obtaining the compensation you’re entitled to. Therefore, it’s essential to safeguard your rights by contacting a competent attorney, such as Walker Texas Lawyer, as soon as possible after your maritime accident. This will enable them to promptly start working on your maritime injury case and help you secure the financial recovery you deserve.

Do You Know Your Rights If You Are Injured at Sea?

After an accident, one of the most important things you can do is to ensure that all your needs are being met. Medical, legal, emotional, as well as financial needs are most important. It is best to meet with a maritime lawyer to know your rights.  However, in an offshore accident a lot of things can be happening. It is very important that you know your rights:

First

Make sure you get medical attention. You have the legal right to select your doctor. You do not need to see the doctor or physician your business or insurance company may push on you. Often, you will need to see the recommended doctor for an evaluation. However, this is the extent of your obligation.

Second

You are entitled to medical treatment. Under the Jones Act, your medical benefits are protected. So injured maritime workers need not worry about compensation for recovery. This is true regardless of who may be at fault for the accident. Furthermore, the Jones Act protects injured seamen, given differing opinions by doctors. You may receive medical benefits and financial maintenance payments, rather you sign paperwork brought forth by an insurance adjuster or not. It is in your best interest to be cautious of any documents brought to you by an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters do not work for you. They work to get the insurance company the best deal.

Third

You are not required to give a recorded statement after any accident. You need to protect your interests. Insurance company adjusters and opposing attorneys will try to get ideas they can twist and use against you. Don’t sign any documents, approve any settlement offers or sign any statement without consulting a maritime attorney.

Fourth

Get the names of coworkers or witnesses who saw the accident or perhaps even noticed a hazard that might have contributed to your injury.

 

Why Hire Walker Texas Lawyer as Your Houston Maritime Accident Attorney?

Hiring Walker Texas Lawyer means you’ll have the expertise of an attorney with years of experience handling maritime injury cases. His commitment to clients, dedication to seeing cases through to the end, and extensive knowledge of maritime law make him the best choice for your maritime accident case.

Don’t wait any longer to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Walker Texas Lawyer, the Houston Maritime Accident Attorney you need, today! Remember, your case review is free, and you won’t pay any fees unless we win your case.

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