Every occupation has its risks, and the maritime industry is no different. In fact, seamen participate in one of the most hazardous industries in existence.
Seamen are at risk for work-related injuries whenever they are on the boat. The courts recognize this. Moreover, our Houston personal injury law firm works continuously to fight for injured seamen.
Maritime law allows injured maritime workers the opportunity to claim necessary compensation for any suffering of work-related complications. Moreover, these laws are the basis for all injuries that seamen sustain.
When you sustain an injury at sea, it is vital to work with a Houston maritime attorney with a
comprehensive understanding of these laws. If you have been injured in the maritime industry, contact
our personal injury attorneys and let us fight for you.
WHEN SHOULD I HIRE A HOUSTON MARITIME ATTORNEY?
Our maritime injury lawyers help injured dockworkers and seamen attain the compensation they require to recover at our personal injury law firm. Typically, serious injuries lead to expensive medical treatments. Above all, these injuries can have a long-term impact on your life, mentally, emotionally, and financially.
This can include an array of accidents that occur on “navigable waters,” including rivers, bays, oceans, harbors, and docks. Our Houston maritime injury attorneys understand maritime law. We also know the best practices and culture of the maritime industry.
Contact us for a free case evaluation, and we can discuss your legal options.
Cargo Ship Accidents
Commercial Fishing Accidents
Jackup Rig or Drilling Accidents
Oil Platform Accidents
Maritime Law and Maritime Injury Cases
Admiralty law exists to help injured seamen recover from injuries sustained during work. Without these laws, injured seamen would be forced to act independently to counteract any suffering sustained at work. Whenever a maritime worker becomes sick or injured, the owner of the vessel must reimburse their losses. Maritime attorneys refer to this as “maintenance and cure.”
Essentially, this means that the employer must provide for the affliction until the worker recovers fully. Courts view this obligation as a duty that the owner owes any worker aboard their vessel.
Moreover, seamen are eligible to recover full wages for the length of the voyage during which they sustained the illness or injury. Oftentimes, their employment contract dictates the number of unearned wages they are eligible to receive.
DEATH ON THE HIGH SEAS ACT
JONES ACT: THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT
LIMITATION LIABILITY ACT
LONGSHOREMEN AND HARBOR
WORKERS COMPENSATION ACT
DEATH ON THE HIGH SEAS ACT
Commercial maritime work is dangerous. Occasionally the negligence or wrongful act of an employer or co-worker can result in a worker’s death. Under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), if a loved one working on a commercial vessel died at least three nautical miles from a U.S. shoreline, the spouse, parent, child or another dependent relative may recover fair compensation for lost wages, funeral expenses, and costs for counselling.
For a claim to be successful, a maritime attorney must prove negligence on the part of the shipowner or a fellow worker. Even if the decedent may have contributed to his or her own loss of life, some compensation may still be warranted.
When in need of a knowledgeable and experienced maritime injury lawyer, Houston residents know they can trust Cobos Law Firm to provide reliable, strategic representation.
JONES ACT: THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT
If your place of employment is for a business on land yet you sustain work-related injuries, the workers compensation laws for that particular state apply. That’s simply not the case when your work is off-shore.
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act, is a federal statute enacted in 1920 which mainly regulates maritime commerce between U.S. ports. However, a portion of the Act also enables maritime workers to file for benefits from their employers for work-related injuries due to their negligence.
This applies whether you are a captain or mate, a deckhand or cook or bartender. If you contribute at least 30 percent of your work time to the work of a vessel while on navigable waters and you sustain injuries, you can apply for benefits. This includes lost wages, medical expenses, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
In some instances, off-shore workers may also be entitled to punitive damages if it can be proven that the employer demonstrated a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of employees. A good Jones Act lawyer can put together a strong suit and get you the compensation you deserve.
LIMITATION LIABILITY ACT & YOUR MARITIME INJURY LAWYER
The Limitation Liability Act protects vessel owners from having to pay compensation for an injury or death that exceeds the value of their craft. This can be bad news for a maritime worker with a claim.
Once a vessel owner files a limitation of liability suit, the proceedings for all claims are stayed. This stay lasts until they consolidate the hearings into a single proceeding where those with competing claims may have to accept pro-rated settlements.
Additionally, limitation liability suits disallow jury trials. Fortunately, some personal injury suits are exempt. These include suits for wages owed to seamen as well as maintenance and cure claims.
If a limitation liability suit has been filed to counter your claim, you need a qualified maritime injury lawyer. Houston is home to one of the best firms in the business, Cobos Law Firm. Moreover, we provide a free initial consultation to help you understand your rights.
LONGSHOREMEN & HARBOR WORKERS COMPENSATION ACT
The LHWCA is similar to the Jones Act. It provides an avenue for maritime workers to receive compensation for lost wages, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation due to an injury sustained on the job. Whether workers are covered under the Jones Act or the LHWCA is strictly tied to their occupational relationships to the vessel.
Seamen are covered by the Jones Act. Longshore workers, dock workers, harbor construction workers, and the like are covered by the LHWCA. If you’re a longshoreman or harbor worker seeking representation from a knowledgeable maritime injury lawyer, Houston is the best place to look.
The Cobos Law Firm in Houston, TX, specializes in maritime law and can help you get the fair compensation you deserve.
The History of Maritime Law & Admiralty Law
Admiralty law, now known as maritime law, governs incidents that occur at sea as well as the conduct of vessels. Many countries have their own laws that cover seamen, the conveyance of passengers, and maritime commerce. However, multilateral treaties established many internationally recognized aspects of admiralty law.
Because ships were one of the earliest means of transportation over long distances, these rules date back to ancient Greece. Later, Eleanor of Aquitaine brought the concept of a legal authority that regulates maritime concerns to the west. She learned of this concept during the Second Crusade while accompanying King Louis VII of France to the Mediterranean.
British admiralty courts set the basis for the term admiralty law as they presided over maritime issues as a separate entity from the common law courts. Because the United States based its judicial system on that of Britain, it incorporated admiralty laws soon after the ratification of the Constitution.
MARITIME LAW AND JURISDICTION
Originally, jurisdiction over maritime matter went to federal courts. Today, many maritime injury cases are heard in either state or federal courts. The saving to suitors clause in Title 28 of the United States Code (28 U.S.C. § 1333) established this option.
However, the exception to this is any case that involves maritime property. These cases must be tried in a federal court. The most important thing to remember is that when a state court presides over a maritime case, they have to apply maritime law, not state law.
This means that you need an experienced maritime injury lawyer. Houston residents often trust The Cobos Law Firm to handle maritime cases. Our strategic mindset and pursuit of your best interests makes us a strong advocate. Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation with our maritime law attorneys.
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF ADMIRALTY LAW?
Admiralty law established the foundation of the legal tenants that govern the sea as well as maritime workers. These basic tenants set a precedent for our Houston maritime lawyers to help you hold negligent parties accountable. This includes the following:
- Seaman and creditors owed wages have the right to have a Maritime Lien against a vessel, providing a security interest to ensure payment.
- Rescuers have the right to claim a maritime salvage award when they recover property that was lost at sea.
- Shipowners have a duty to provide reasonable care to their workers and passengers.
When negligence results in the injury of a passenger, that passenger has the right to bring a lawsuit against the shipowner.
Maintenance and cure requires shipowners to care for injured crew members.
“Maintenance” creates an obligation for owners to provide seamen and maritime workers with basic living expenses until they are able to return to work. On the other hand, “cure” requires shipowners to provide injured workers with free medical care. This includes cases of permanent or long-term care.
The shipowner provides care until the seaman reaches “maximum medical cure,” which means they are as close as possible to their condition before the injury.
What Does a Houston Maritime Injury Lawyer Cover?
Oftentimes, maritime work is dangerous, and the injuries seamen sustain are not covered by typical workers’ compensation laws of a state. A Houston maritime injury lawyer can represent seamen in various claims such as barge and cargo ship accidents, commercial fishing accidents, shipyard accidents, drilling rig and oil platform accidents, wrongful death, and more.
When looking for a maritime injury lawyer Houston area residents recognize Cobos Law Firm as an industry leader in helping seamen recover costs for injuries that have impacted their ability to work, for medical bills and rehab costs as well as pain and suffering.
When you work with a Houston maritime injury lawyer from our firm, our attorney advocates for your best interests and hold those responsible for your injuries accountable.
A Houston Maritime Injury Lawyer Can Help Recover Full Costs for Maritime Accidents
Our law office in Houston, TX, offers legal representation for cases involving maritime injuries. Andrew Cobos is a Texas lawyer who represents clients after they have sustained work-related injuries or illnesses.
After a serious accident, you might incur an array of different costs. These costs have an immediate impact on your life. However, that impact can last for years to come. Often, these immediate effects are quite obvious:
- Inability to work
- Expensive bills
- Pain and suffering
When it comes to maritime injuries, it’s not always easy to understand the long-term impact of an injury. Your Houston maritime lawyer advocates for you to recover crucial damages that can help in the event of lifelong medical attention. Moreover, it is hard to know the long-term effects, which means you need to be prepared.
Maritime Law: Maintenance & Cure
An offshore, work-related injury can be devastating, not just because of the injury itself, but also for your ability to continue to meet your financial obligations. Maintenance and cure laws help to ensure the injured party’s medical and rehabilitation bills are paid as well as basic day-to-day living expenses during the recuperation period.
If you have been sidelined by a maritime injury and are in need of a maritime injury lawyer Houston has a top legal resource in Cobos Law Firm. A Houston maritime injury lawyer from Cobos Law understands maintenance and cure laws and what is required to put together a solid case for you in court.
Rest assured, when you engage a Houston maritime injury lawyer from Cobos Law Firm, you are in good hands.
How a Jones Act Lawyer Can Help You
As any good Houston maritime injury lawyer knows, the Jones Act compensates injured maritime workers for lost earnings, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. The compensation in each of these categories, however, is not a simple matter to determine.
How does one fairly determine future raises, promotions, and benefits? What future medical costs
might arise from an injury? How do you put a price on mental anguish?
If you sustain a work-related injury while working as a seaman in navigable waters, you need an advocate. You need the advice and representation of a personal injury lawyer who understands maritime law and the Jones Act in particular.
Maritime Injury Lawyer FAQ
Are There Specific Conditions That Apply to Maritime Law?
In order for a claim to be considered under maritime law, the incident must have occurred on a vessel and in navigable waters. Moreover, the claimant must have been engaged in the duties of their job.
Does General Maritime Law Include Any Basic Provisions?
Employers are required to ensure workers have a safe environment in which to carry out the duties of their jobs. Additionally, if workers are injured during the course of carrying out their duties, employers must provide maintenance and cure.
What Kinds of Accidents Might Maritime Workers Experience on Oil Rigs?
If you work on an offshore oil rig, you can expect hard work and long hours surrounded by heavy equipment and machinery. It is not uncommon to become injured due to job requirements involving bending, lifting or twisting. Slips and falls, traumatic brain injuries, and fire and chemical burns from oil rig explosions are, fortunately, less common, but they can happen. If you become ill or injured while working on an offshore oil rig, you may be entitled to damages.
Does maritime law cover pirate attacks?
We live in uncertain times, and unfortunately, piracy attacks can and do happen in foreign waters. If you’ve been injured at sea in a pirate attack, a good maritime injury lawyer will utilize the Jones Act to help you recover lost wages and medical expenses.
What is admiralty law? Is it the same as maritime law?
Admiralty law is a term that harkens back to the time prior to the American Revolution. It largely focused on contracts and torts that favored the interests of ship owners. Maritime law, on the other hand, is a set of laws that grew out of a need to protect the interests of typically low-paid seamen who often performed dangerous work for ship owners.
Over the years, the function of these laws merged to address contracts and torts as well as seamen injuries, so much so that the terms are now interchangeable. Today’s legal world is incredibly complex.
When there comes a need for a maritime injury lawyer, Houston area residents have consistently placed their confidence in Cobos Law Firm, experts in litigating maritime cases.
What is maintenance and cure?
A maritime worker who has sustained a work-related injury or illness is entitled to maintenance and cure compensation from their employer. Maintenance payments cover the actual costs of an employee’s regular living expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, necessary utility bills, groceries, taxes, and insurance, and they are typically paid on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Cure payments, however, cover the medical and treatment expenses related to the injury or illness. These payments will not last forever even if the injury results in a permanent disability. Maintenance and cure benefits continue until the injured worker’s physician deems that he or she has reached the maximum medical improvement possible.
How Much Does a Houston Maritime Injury Lawyer Cost?
Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to put together a sound case and make a strong argument for you in court. That said, we understand that legal fees can be expensive, especially when your source of income has been diminished.
This means no upfront fees or retainers will be required of you. After your free case evaluation, should you choose our representation, we’ll ask you to sign a Power of Attorney contract which will grant the attorney sole authorization to represent you and your claim.
In return, you will agree to pay a percentage of the amount we recover along with such expenses as court fees and hired experts. We’ll explain this fully during your free initial consultation.
What should I do when I suffer a maritime injury?
If you suffer a maritime injury, it’s important that you don’t delay. Inform your supervisor and fill out an incident report. With the exception of that report, don’t sign anything offered by your employer until it can be reviewed first by a personal injury lawyer. If you are able, photograph the immediate scene. If you can’t, see if a trusted co-worker can do so for you. Of course, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
Then, as soon as you are physically able, you’ll want to contact an attorney and put in a claim while memories of the incident are still fresh as well as to document your injuries. This is also important because statute of limitation laws will apply. If you miss the window of time to legally put in a claim, you may lose out on any compensation whatsoever.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Injuries at Sea Under The Jones Act?
When you sustain an offshore injury and need a maritime injury lawyer, Houston area residents who engage Cobos Law Firm trust them to file timely claims on their behalf. A maritime worker injured at sea has three years from the time of an injury to file a lawsuit for injuries.
As any good Jones Act lawyer will tell you, if a suit is not filed during this window of time, the opportunity is lost. Occasionally, a worker might not be aware of having sustained an injury until some time has passed. In such cases, the clock on the statute of limitations starts ticking at the time the injury is discovered.