Activities at sea are particularly dangerous. While your employer must protect you and minimize the risk of injury, boat and platform work is inherently physical work and predictable injuries do occur, especially when employers are lax with their procedures, maintenance and supervision. Employers often fail to protect their dedicated employees. We handle Jones Act, Coastal Act and driller claims. We hear cases in state, federal and administrative courts across the country.
Accidents and injuries can end your career as a seafarer, longshoreman or oil rig worker. The physical demands of working at the sea make injuries to hands, arms, legs or back very likely and potentially catastrophic. Your livelihood and that of your family are at stake.
What is Maritime Law?
The law of the sea, also known as the law of the admiralty, is a body of laws, conventions and treaties governing private maritime affairs and other maritime matters such as B. Navigation or crimes on the high seas. The law of the sea refers to the international rules that govern the use of the oceans and seas.
Houston Maritime Attorney
The Houston-based maritime attorney is well versed in maritime law and has represented affected offshore workers in Texas, Louisiana and throughout the Gulf Coast. We have seen clients deal with lifelong disabilities and the loss of a well-paying job Houston maritime lawyer in the USA.
That's why puts Patrick Daniel Lowe ahead of other law firms in Houston, Texas. He knows the job. Raised in Louisiana, he has 20 years of maritime experience, including through the courtroom.
Admiralty & Maritime Law History
The Law of the Sea, often referred to as Admiralty Law, governs most incidents on navigable seas and is almost as old as the shipping industry itself.
The origins of the legislation can be traced back to the unwritten seafaring rules of the Egyptians and Greeks. However, the first official rules were published around 900 BC. Created on the Greek island of Rhodes. The origins of maritime laws and regulations can be traced back to ancient maritime conventions and regulations.
The doctrine of the common average, for example, goes back to the earliest sea customs of the Rhodians. It stipulates that all parties involved in maritime transport (owners, shippers, etc.) are equally liable for any damage or loss that may result from the voluntary sacrifice of part of the ship or cargo to save the ship. together.
Eleanor of Aquitaine introduced the concept of a separate legal authority for maritime affairs to the West when she accompanied her first husband, King Louis VII of France, to the Mediterranean during the Second Crusade.
The word "Admiralty Law" comes from the British Admiralty Courts, which were independent of the English Common Law Courts and dealt with maritime disputes. As the judicial system of the United States is based on that of the United Kingdom, Admiralty's revised laws were gradually introduced into our legal system shortly after the passage of the Constitution.
Types of Maritime Injury Cases
Maritime workers face situations and conditions that put most land workers in a state of fear and despair. Although they largely understand the dangers they face and have various ways of dealing with them and minimizing the risks, accidents do happen.
Some of the most common accidents involving offshore workers that result in injury include:
- Slips and Falls - #1 Solid for Personal Injury Claims. Slips are common when wet and occur on stairs, decks, and even in crew cabins.
- Bumps and crashes - Swing arms, cranes, trolleys, carts, machinery and loose loads can strike workers.
- Lifting and transport errors - A drawbridge in rough seas can make lifting heavy loads dangerous. Even under ideal conditions, lifting weights is risky.
- Sickness - Not all lawsuits involve infringement. Sometimes crew members fall ill due to unsanitary conditions and poor cooking.
When a ship sets sail, the only way to get medical attention for an injured worker is through the ship's medical staff, also known as sickbay or infirmary. This can be a real benefit or a real risk if staff are not properly trained. In extreme cases, a transport helicopter may be required, but weather and sea conditions may affect the ability to dispatch a helicopter.
When Does Maritime Law Apply?
The law of the sea, of course, refers to incidents on the high seas, that is, accidents occurring outside the territorial waters of the country. The law of the sea also covers the territorial sea, which is defined as waters within 12 miles of the coast.
However, the further inland you go, the less obvious the application becomes. The Law of the Sea did not apply to situations that occurred within the "body of the nation" in the early days of the United States, which excluded incidents involving the Great Lakes and tidal inland waterways. However, during the 19th century, this isolation began to deteriorate.
Maritime law now applies to the "navigable seas". A canal is considered navigable if, by itself or in connection with other sea routes, it can serve as "a continuous channel through which commerce is or can be carried on with other states or foreign states".
Therefore, a body of water surrounded by land in a state is not navigable for reasons of admiralty jurisdiction. On the other hand, a body of water does not have to flow between states to be considered navigable.
How to Choose the Right Maritime Injury Attorney?
The law of the sea can be difficult to understand. Although these rules are designed to protect the rights of injured or ill Navy personnel, they can be difficult to understand.
It is therefore important to seek the advice of a lawyer with extensive experience in this area of law. It is extremely important to choose an experienced maritime lawyer.
Find out how many cases an attorney has handled before hiring one. It's not a good idea to let an attorney dodge your questions; You need someone who will give you clear answers to all your questions.
Maritime Injuries: Do You Know Your Rights?
After an accident, one of the most important things you can do is make sure all of your needs are met: medical, legal, emotional and financial. However, it can be difficult. Therefore, it is important to highlight some points that can be affected.
First, remember that you have the legal right to choose your doctor. Never feel obligated to choose a medical office or doctor that your company or insurance company might force you to choose. You'll often need to see a recommended doctor for checkups, but that's the limit of your obligations. Who you choose for treatment is up to you and you should not be threatened by any employer or expert you work for in your case.
Second, you have a right to treatment. The provision of medical services is protected by the Jones Act, so injured sailors need not worry about recovery compensation. This applies regardless of who is responsible for the accident. Additionally, the Jones Act protects injured sailors who can obtain special medical advice. This means that if one doctor recommends treatment and another says it is not necessary, the dispute is settled in favor of the treatment. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that many sailors have been injured. However, if a pre-existing medical condition worsens, the employer is required to provide adequate coverage. All that is required is a supporting statement from your physician on your behalf. You are entitled to medical benefits and financial assistance whether or not you sign documents presented by an insurance agent. It is in your interest to be careful with any document the insurance agent presents to you; they often don't focus on your safety and well-being. Therefore, you must refrain from signing any document provided that medical benefits and/or alimony payments depend on the signature.
Third, you are not required to provide a recorded statement as a result of an accident and/or injury of any kind. Of course, reporting an incident as soon as possible is an important step in this process; However, it should be remembered that many accidents can affect the memory and mental activity of the victim. Therefore, it is impractical to write a list of events that need to be fixed later, which can be quite a complicated process. From the initial filing of a claim to the preparation and conduct of legal proceedings, there are several instances where your rights may be affected. Insensitive employers and insurance companies care little for the welfare of affected employees. Is it really important to be represented by a lawyer who is concerned about your long-term health and well-being?
Maritime Law - FAQ
What is a maritime injury?
Sea damage is any type of physical or psychological damage inflicted at sea. Sailors, cruise ship passengers, fishing boat crew members, and anyone else injured or killed in the US or foreign waters may be presumed injured at sea.
These injuries are sometimes serious and can be life-altering, requiring the involvement of a lawyer knowledgeable in marine casualty law and how to bring those responsible to justice.
It is important to note that land rules do not apply to marine injuries. For example, injured sea officials cannot make an industrial injury claim in the same way as farmworkers. Instead, they must seek compensation under laws such as the LHWCA and the Jones Act.
What is a maritime attorney?
A marine lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in helping people who have suffered wrongful injury, accident or death as a result of maritime accidents related to recreational or commercial activities.
Maritime law governs these situations and outlines clear paths of rehabilitation for those who have been injured at sea or have lost loved ones.
An experienced Houston maritime lawyer will have a clear understanding of how the law of the sea applies to domestic and international maritime situations, as well as the determination to see any case through.
Claims for damage at sea can require lengthy investigations, an intimate knowledge of age-old laws and a willingness to fight in court.
Do I need to hire a maritime injury lawyer?
Yes, you will almost certainly need the services of a sea injury attorney as sea injury regulations can be extensive. Deciding whether or not to hire a marine damage attorney can seem difficult.
What you need to know is that no one can protect your rights and help you get your life back as a qualified marine damage attorney can.
Your boss will not be on your side. Your loved ones will wonder how they can help you. To protect yourself, you need a reputable attorney who understands the ins and outs of marine damage claims.
Hiring a maritime lawyer also means you have someone by your side who will fight for the money you deserve, not the compensation you are being offered.
What should you do after a maritime accident?
Few situations are scarier than being injured on a ship at sea. You can't just call 911 and wait for an ambulance.
When injured at sea, seafarers must do the following:
- Obtain medical supplies from the ship. Workers on small ships may have to rely on first aid, while on larger ships there may be a doctor or health worker who can provide treatment.
- Contact the Coast Guard in an emergency. Injuries that are not serious or life-threatening can usually be treated in a hospital when the ship returns to port. However, in extreme situations, the U.S. Coast Guard may assist in transporting a seriously injured worker while the vessel is at sea.
- Report the injury to your employer. By law, you only have 7 days to report a marine accident in which you were injured. Advice from a senior officer or the master of the vessel is usually sufficient to fulfill the reporting obligation.
- stay organized Keep all documents related to the accident and your injuries, including medical records and bills, notices to your employer, etc.
- Contact a lawyer who specializes in maritime damages. After a marine accident, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible. Employers and their insurance companies often try to force injured workers to sign documents against their interests. An experienced attorney can protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Many of the same steps apply if you are covered under the Dockworkers and Port workers Compensation Act, especially the importance of timely medical care and legal representation. The main difference is that shore and dockside workers have 30 days to report an injury instead of 7. However, it is important to notify your employer as soon as possible.
How long does a maritime lawsuit take?
No two sea injury claims are the same. If you claim negligence, it may take several months to a year for your case to be resolved. The decision will take longer if the case goes to court.
The doctrine of "seaworthiness" is a relatively low bar. Almost any unsafe condition can render a ship unseaworthy for purposes of a sea damage claim.
Because workers often have good grounds to sue for negligence and receive substantial compensation if successful, shipping companies and their insurers are likely to take aggressive defensive action. They can claim that you are responsible for the accident, or they can significantly underestimate the damage in your claim.