If you have been injured offshore in Texas, or on land as an employee in the maritime industry, you may be wondering if your case falls under maritime law or personal injury law. It is important to understand that even though you were injured in an accident, maritime law, also known as admiralty law, is separate and distinct from personal injury law.
While both types of cases involve injured parties, many personal injury attorneys do not have experience representing injured clients in maritime cases. If you were injured in a maritime accident, you need an attorney who has the knowledge and skills to handle your case. Houston maritime accident attorney Aaron W. Perry knows admiralty law, and he will advocate for maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.
What Are Maritime Cases?
Maritime industry employees, such as longshoremen, harbor workers, seamen, and offshore workers, who are injured on the job are often entitled to relief under federal maritime laws. Instead of pursuing traditional workers’ compensation claims or personal injury claims, injured employees seek financial recovery for their injuries and damages through a maritime injury claim. Depending on the type of employee and injury circumstances, there are different maritime laws that could apply.
Generally, employee injury cases will fall under maritime law if the injuries occurred in navigable waters, were related to maritime activities, and had the potential to interfere with maritime commerce. Many Texas residents make a living in the maritime industry working on oil rigs, water vessels, shipyards, and docks. When they are injured at work, they turn to admiralty law attorneys for their injury claims.
Types Of Maritime Injury Cases
Depending on the circumstances of each injury case, nautical injuries may fall under the following admiralty laws:
- The Jones Act is a federal law that applies to injured workers who qualify as seamen. To qualify, injured workers must have a role in the function and operation of the vessel, and they must have a direct connection with the vessel that was being navigated or operated.
- The Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (‘LHWCA’) protects shipping port workers who perform shipping and harbor duties. Shipping port workers work around heavy cargo, cranes, and other moving equipment, putting them at a heightened risk for accidents and injuries.
- The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (‘OCSLA’) was enacted, in part, as a protection for workers injured while working on the outer continental shelf, which is defined as all submerged lands lying seaward within three miles of the coast and under United States jurisdiction. OCSLA extends the benefits of the LHWCA to employees injured offshore on oil rigs and platforms on the outer continental shelf.
- When maritime injuries are fatal, the deceased’s close family members and dependents may have a claim for compensation under the Death on the High Seas Act. This act is similar to a wrongful death claim or death benefits provided under a traditional workers’ compensation claim.
Legal Doctrines In Admiralty Law
Maintenance & Cure is a common law doctrine providing that injured seamen are entitled to basic living expenses and medical expenses while they are recovering from their injuries, regardless of fault. At a minimum, seamen are generally entitled to maintenance and cure for their work injuries, even if they were at fault for their accident and resulting injuries.
Unseaworthiness is another maritime doctrine that allows injured seamen to bring a claim against a shipowner for injuries sustained on an unseaworthy vessel. Shipowners have a duty to maintain their vessels and remediate unsafe conditions. Unseaworthiness claims provide for additional compensation that may not otherwise be available to seamen under the Jones Act.
State Or Federal Court
Maritime laws are federal laws, but these cases can be brought in federal or state courts in Texas. In general, even if your case is brought in Texas state court, federal maritime law will apply to the subject matter of your case. For example, your case may be based on the Jones Act instead of Texas personal injury law.
Even if the Jones Act applies to your case, however, Texas procedural laws, such as the statute of limitations, might apply to your case if it is brought in state court. As you can see, there are many complexities to maritime injury cases, and it is critical that you have an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in this type of law.
Houston Maritime Injury Attorney
If you have been injured at work, contact Texas maritime injury attorney Aaron W. Perry at 713-393-7788 or online for a free case evaluation. We will discuss your case facts and potential recovery options, which may include medical expenses, rehabilitation, and physical therapy expenses, lost income, maintenance expenses, and benefits for other losses.
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