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Houston Maritime Injury Lawyer

Workers in marine terminals and port operations have higher fatality, injury, and illness rates than other workers in the U.S. However, the fact that the maritime industry can be dangerous does not mean that a person or company who caused an injury should be excused from liability. A company should never be rewarded for putting profits over safety.

If you have been injured in a maritime workplace accident or you lost a loved one in that manner, contact Havens & Associates for a free consultation with a Houston maritime injury lawyer.

Call (713) 955-2215, and we can explain your rights to demand compensation in a workplace injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

houston maritime attorney

A Quick Look at Houston's MAritime Industry

With over 200 private and public terminals, the Port of Houston is a bustling hub, accommodating more than 8,200 seagoing vessels and 215,000 barges annually.

A recent study ranks Houston, TX as the second-leading city in the nation for maritime job opportunities, supporting 1.54 million jobs in Texas alone. Given this context, it’s not surprising that Houston sees many maritime injury cases. Maritime workers, who face unique challenges and risks at sea, often lack the protections available to land-based employees. As a result, many turn to specialized maritime injury lawyers in Houston to defend their rights and seek compensation for injuries and losses.

Have you been in one of these maritime accidents?

Accidents and injuries in the maritime sector can occur at terminals, shipyards, or on the open water, often stemming from occupational hazards, insufficient training, inadequate safety equipment, or poor vessel upkeep. Thankfully, the Jones Act and other maritime regulations typically cover workers’ injuries and fatalities under these circumstances.

Injuries among maritime employees can arise from a variety of incidents, with some of the most frequent being:

Maritime workers across different roles may face injury or even death from these types of accidents. Experienced maritime attorneys in Houston, like the team at Havens & Associates, are equipped to assess the merits of a claim following an accident by evaluating any wrongful actions or negligence on the employer’s part.

We represent all types of injured maritime workers

Our Houston maritime injury lawyers represent workers like you, not big corporations. The following are just some of the workers we represent:

houston maritime tugboat accident lawyer

Why do Maritime Accidents Happen?

Maritime workers face unique challenges on the job. Accidents are plentiful and arise in many ways, the most common being inadequate employee training, lack of safety gear, and improper vessel maintenance.

What are some common maritime injuries?

Maritime work-related injuries can be severe and often disabling. Some of the more common injuries include:

What kinds of compensation can I receive for a maritime injury?

Economic Damages

Every case is unique, so the specifics of your maritime injury settlement may vary. In general, injured maritime workers may demand compensation for the following:

  • All medical care related to the accident, like a hospital stay, surgery, skin grafts, and special care
  • Any rehabilitative services, like physical or occupational therapy
  • Prescription medications
  • Lost wages from time missed at work to heal from the injuries
  • Loss of earning potential if they are unable to continue in the line of work they were in before the accident and must take a lower-paying job
  • Lost earnings if they are disabled to the point that they cannot hold gainful employment
  • Accommodations in a skilled nursing facility

Non-economic Damages

Your Houston maritime accident lawyer may also demand that you receive compensation for intangible (non-economic) losses, like:

  • Pain and suffering from your injuries
  • Emotional trauma or mental anguish from the accident or due to your changed abilities
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium with your spouse (intimacy)
  • Loss of companionship (damaged relationships with loved ones)
  • Loss of guidance (unable to be the parent you once were to your children)

Although it’s harder to quantify your non-economic losses, they still have value. You’re entitled to be compensated for the diminished quality of life you now have due to the accident.

Important Maritime Laws

The Jones Act

The Jones Act is a federal law establishing a U.S. Merchant Marine. It also extends the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) liability protection to seamen injured in the line of duty, permitting them to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The LHWCA provides workers’ compensation for persons other than seamen engaged in maritime employment. This compensation is generally provided without regard to the injured worker’s fault.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act extends the LHWCA’s compensation benefits to offshore workers engaged in oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf.

When do MAritime Laws Apply?

Maritime, or admiralty law, governs activities and legal issues for shipping and navigation industries. They apply to all navigable waters for travel, commerce, or trade between states or foreign countries. Navigable waters include:

  • High seas
  • Inlets
  • Bays
  • Harbors
  • Rivers

Federal maritime laws apply if these bodies of water run between states. If the body of water is contained entirely within one state, such as a lake, then federal maritime jurisdiction does not apply. If you have been injured on a body of water entirely within Texas borders, you may still be able to recover damages. Ask your Houston maritime injury lawyer which laws apply in your case.

What Does it Mean to be Seaworthy?

Every ship must pass tests to ensure it can travel safely on the open water before being deemed “seaworthy.” The vessel owner or operator owes a duty to the seamen to provide a seaworthy vessel, so if unseaworthiness causes injury or death, the owner can be liable.

What Makes a Seaworthy?

The common law definition of seaworthiness for a ship or other vessel offers reasonable safety for passengers and crew and is fit for typical perils found at sea. The law considered several factors in determining whether a vessel is seaworthy:

Lack of seaworthiness may also include whether safety rules and regulations are followed while operating the vessel.

Some physical characteristics to determine whether a vessel is seaworthy include:

It’s important to note that the Jones Act has a specific definition of seaworthiness. A Houston maritime injury lawyer can evaluate the condition of the vessel on which you were injured to determine its seaworthiness under common law and per the Jones Act.

What’s the process for filing a maritime injury claim?

  1. Filing a maritime injury claim depends on which laws govern your case. Start the process by talking to an experienced maritime accident attorney. They know the laws and requirements for filing a claim under each one.
  2. Maritime accident claims generally have a lower burden of proof than a standard personal injury case, but your attorney must still prove your claim. They’ll gather evidence against the defendant(s), like photos, videos, witness statements, or the safety records of the vessel or job site.
  3. Many claims can be settled out of court, with both parties negotiating a fair settlement. However, the case moves to trial if the other party does not compromise. If it’s a maritime law case, it’s held in federal court.

Can I bring a wrongful death suit if my loved one died in an offshore accident?

Yes, under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), specific beneficiaries of a deceased seaman or offshore worker may file a wrongful death suit against the employer if the deceased was injured in the course of their job working at least three miles offshore.

The spouse, children, and parents may be entitled to recover damages like loss of companionship and support, loss of financial contribution to the family, funeral and burial expenses, and the emotional trauma and pain and suffering of their loss.

Our Houston offshore death attorneys can fight to ensure that your family receives the maximum compensation for your loss.

Why should I hire Havens & Associates?

When you work with the skilled legal team at Havens & Associates, you benefit from our decades of combined legal experience, focusing on maritime and admiralty laws. We’re an award-winning firm with honors from:

Here are just some of the benefits of working with our Houston maritime injury attorneys:

We believe that results speak for themselves. We have a strong history of six-and-seven-figure settlements and jury awards, including a recent victory securing $600,000 for a client injured in an oil rig accident.

Schedule your free consultation with a Houston Injury Lawyer

If you’re a maritime worker injured on the job, you can’t afford to settle for less. You need skilled legal advice from a Houston maritime accident attorney.

You may be tempted to accept a fast settlement from your employer or another responsible party, but it’s likely not the total amount your case is worth. It may not even be enough to cover long-term treatment or care for complications from your injury. Call (713) 955-2215 and book your free consultation to fight for what you deserve.

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