Houston Maritime Lawyers: A Resource Guide

Activities at sea are very hazardous. While your employer is responsible for protecting you and minimizing the risk of harm, boat and platform work is fundamentally physical, and predicted injuries can occur, particularly when employers are careless in their procedures, maintenance, and supervision. Employers frequently fail to protect their hardworking employees. We handle Jones Act claims, Coastal Act claims, and driller claims. Across the country, we hear matters in state, federal, and administrative courts.

Accidents and injuries might put your job as a sailor, longshoreman, or oil rig worker on the line. The physical demands of operating at sea make hand, arm, leg, or back injuries more frequent, and potentially fatal. Your and your family’s livelihoods are at stake.

What exactly is maritime law?

The law of the sea, often known as the law of admiralty, is a body of rules, conventions, and treaties that control private marine issues and other nautical problems such as navigation or high seas offenses. The international norms that govern the usage of the oceans and seas are referred to as the law of the sea.

Houston Maritime Lawyer

The Houston-based marine attorney is well-versed in maritime law and has represented affected offshore employees throughout Texas, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast. We’ve seen customers deal with permanent infirmities and the loss of a well-paying career in Houston, Texas. 

That is why Patrick Daniel Lowe stands apart among Houston legal companies. He is familiar with the task. He was raised in Louisiana and has 20 years of marine experience, including in court.

History of Admiralty and Maritime Law

The Law of the Sea, often known as Admiralty Law, governs the majority of incidents on navigable waters and is nearly as old as the shipping industry itself.

The origins of the legislation can be traced back to Egyptian and Greek unwritten maritime norms. The earliest official rules, however, were published in 900 BC. Rhodes, a Greek island, was the inspiration for this design. Maritime rules and regulations have their roots in ancient maritime treaties and regulations.

The notion of the common average, for example, can be traced back to the Rhodians’ oldest marine practices. It states that all parties involved in marine transport (owners, shippers, etc.) are equally accountable for any harm or loss caused by the voluntary sacrifice of a portion of the ship or cargo to preserve the ship.

When Eleanor of Aquitaine followed her first husband, King Louis VII of France, to the Mediterranean during the Second Crusade, she brought the concept of a separate legal authority for marine matters to the West.

The term “Admiralty Law” derives from the British Admiralty Courts, which dealt with marine matters independently of the English Common Law Courts. Because the United States judicial system is based on that of the United Kingdom, the Admiralty’s amended laws were progressively incorporated into our legal system shortly after the adoption of the Constitution.

Various Types of Maritime Injury Cases

Maritime employees confront situations and conditions that would make most land workers fearful and depressed. Although they are generally aware of the dangers they confront and have devised various methods of dealing with them and limiting the risks, accidents sometimes occur.

The following are some of the most common injuries sustained by offshore workers:

  • Slips and Falls are the most common causes of personal injury claims. Slips are common on damp stairs, decks, and even in crew cabins.
  • Swing arms, cranes, trolleys, carts, machinery, and loose cargo can all strike employees.
  • Errors in lifting and transport: A drawbridge in high waves can make lifting heavy loads unsafe. Lifting weights is dangerous, even under optimal settings.
  • Sickness: Not all lawsuits involve intellectual property violations. Crew members can become ill as a result of filthy conditions and bad cooking.

When a ship sets sail, the only option for an injured worker to receive medical assistance is through the ship’s medical crew, often known as the sickbay or infirmary. If employees are not adequately taught, this might be a great benefit or a big risk. A transport helicopter may be required in extreme instances, however, weather and sea conditions may limit the ability to dispatch a helicopter.

When Is Maritime Law Applicable?

The law of the sea, of course, pertains to incidents on the high seas, that is, mishaps that occur outside the country’s territorial waters. The territorial sea, defined as waters within 12 miles of the shore, is also covered by maritime law.

However, as you travel further inland, the application becomes less clear. The Law of the Sea did not apply to incidents that occurred within the “body of the nation” during the early days of the United States, which excluded incidents involving the Great Lakes and tidal interior waterways. This isolation, however, began to worsen over the nineteenth century.

The “navigable seas” are now subject to maritime law. A canal is considered navigable if it can serve as “a continuous channel through which commerce is or can be carried on with other states or foreign states” on its own or in conjunction with other sea routes.

As a result, a body of water surrounded by land in a state is not navigable for admiralty jurisdictional considerations. A body of water, on the other hand, does not have to flow between states to be termed navigable.

How Do You Choose the Best Maritime Injury Lawyer?

The law of the sea can be complicated to grasp. These rules, while intended to protect the rights of injured or ill Navy members, can be difficult to comprehend.

As a result, it is critical to obtain the opinion of a lawyer with substantial competence in this area of law. It is critical to select an experienced maritime lawyer.

Before selecting an attorney, inquire about the number of cases he or she has handled. Allowing an attorney to sidestep your queries is not a good idea; you need someone who will offer you straightforward answers to all of your questions.

Do You Know Your Rights in the Event of a Maritime Accident?

One of the most important things you can do after an accident is to ensure that all of your needs are met: medical, legal, emotional, and financial. It can, however, be challenging. As a result, it is critical to highlight some of the topics that may be affected.

To begin, keep in mind that you have the legal right to choose your doctor. Never feel forced to accept a medical office or doctor recommended by your employer or insurance provider. You’ll frequently need to see a recommended doctor for checkups, but that’s the extent of your responsibilities. It is up to you who you choose for therapy, and you should not be threatened by any employer or expert you work for in your case.

Second, you have a legal right to be treated. The Jones Act protects the provision of medical care, so injured sailors do not need to worry about recouping their losses. This is true regardless of who caused the collision. Furthermore, the Jones Act protects injured sailors who can seek special medical attention. This means that if one doctor suggests therapy and another argues it isn’t essential, the argument is resolved in favor of the treatment. Unfortunately, this is not the first occasion that a large number of sailors have been hurt. However, if an employee’s pre-existing medical condition worsens, the employer must provide adequate coverage. All that is required is a supporting statement on your behalf from your physician. Whether or not you sign documentation supplied by an insurance agent, you are entitled to medical benefits and financial aid. It is in your best advantage to be cautious with any paperwork presented to you by an insurance agent; they frequently do not prioritize your safety and well-being. As a result, you must refrain from signing any document that relies on your signature for medical benefits or alimony payments.

Third, you are not compelled to provide a recorded statement as a result of any form of accident or injury. Of course, reporting an occurrence as soon as possible is a vital step in this procedure; yet, many accidents might damage the victim’s memory and mental activity. As a result, writing a list of occurrences that need to be addressed later, which might be a lengthy procedure, is impracticable. There are various situations where your rights may be compromised, ranging from the initial filing of a claim to the preparation and conduct of legal actions. Employers and insurance firms are unconcerned about the well-being of their employees. Is it really necessary to have a lawyer who is worried about your long-term health and well-being on your side?

Maritime Law – Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a marine injury?

Sea damage refers to any form of physical or psychological harm sustained at sea. Sailors, cruise ship passengers, fishing boat crew members, and anybody else who is hurt or murdered at sea in US or foreign seas may be believed to have been injured at sea.

These injuries are frequently severe and life-changing, necessitating the involvement of a lawyer experienced in maritime casualty law and how to hold those responsible accountable.

It is critical to understand that land rules do not apply to maritime injuries. Injured marine authorities, for example, cannot file an industrial injury claim in the same manner that farmworkers might. They must instead seek redress under statutes such as the LHWCA and the Jones Act.

What exactly is a maritime attorney?

A marine lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in assisting those who have experienced wrongful injury, accident, or death as a result of maritime mishaps that occurred while participating in recreational or commercial activities.

These situations are governed by maritime law, which specifies defined avenues of rehabilitation for people who have been injured at sea or have lost loved ones.

An experienced Houston maritime lawyer will comprehend how the law of the sea applies to local and international marine circumstances, as well as have the desire to see any matter through to completion.

Long investigations, extensive knowledge of age-old legislation, and a willingness to fight in court may be required for claims for damage at sea.

Is it necessary for me to engage a marine injury lawyer?

Yes, you will almost certainly want the services of a marine injury attorney due to the complexities of maritime injury rules. It can be difficult to decide whether or not to contact a maritime damage attorney.

What you should know is that no one can safeguard your rights and help you regain control of your life like a trained marine damage attorney.

Your boss will not support you. Your loved ones will be perplexed as to how they might assist you. To protect yourself, you should hire a reputable attorney who is familiar with maritime damage claims.

Hiring a marine lawyer also means you’ll have someone on your side who will fight for the money you’re owed, not the compensation you’re given.

What should you do if you are involved in a marine accident?

Few things are more terrifying than being hurt on a ship at sea. You cannot simply dial 911 and wait for an ambulance.

Seafarers who are hurt at sea must perform the following:

  • Medical supplies can be obtained from the ship. Workers on tiny ships may have to rely on first aid, whereas, on larger ships, a doctor or health worker may be available to provide treatment.
  • In an emergency, call the Coast Guard. When the ship comes to port, minor injuries that are not life-threatening can typically be treated in a hospital. In severe cases, the United States Coast Guard may aid in removing a seriously injured worker while the vessel is at sea.
  • Inform your employer about the injury. You have only seven days under the law to report a marine accident in which you were wounded. Generally, advice from a senior officer or the master of the vessel is sufficient to complete the reporting requirement.
  • maintain your organization Keep all documentation relating to the accident and your injuries, such as medical records and bills, employer notices, and so on.
  • Speak with a lawyer who specializes in marine damage. Legal counsel should be sought as quickly as possible following a maritime catastrophe. Employers and their insurance companies frequently attempt to coerce wounded workers into signing papers that are detrimental to their interests. A skilled lawyer can fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve.

If you are protected by the Dockworkers and Port Workers Compensation Act, many of the same steps apply, including the importance of timely medical attention and legal representation. The key distinction is that beach and dockside workers have 30 days instead of 7 to report an injury. However, you must notify your employer as soon as possible.

How long does it take to resolve a maritime lawsuit?

There are no two maritime injury claims alike. If you file a negligence claim, it may take many months to a year to conclude your case. If the case goes to court, the ruling will take longer.

The idea of “seaworthiness” sets a low bar. Almost any dangerous condition can render a ship unsuitable for maritime damage claims.

Shipping companies and their insurers are likely to take active defense action because workers frequently have good grounds to claim for negligence and obtain large compensation if successful. They can blame you for the accident, or they can severely undervalue the harm in your claim.