Maritime accidents can have a number of damaging repercussions, particularly for the workers and the environment (as in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill). When such accidents lead to injury, illness, or disability, the victims are entitled to certain types of compensation under U.S. maritime law. An experienced Houston maritime lawyer like those at Johnson Garcia LLP can help such victims seek the compensation they deserve.
Maritime accidents and injury cases may occur at maritime terminals, shipyards, or out in the waters. With the inherent risks of the occupations in the maritime industry, most of these cases occur due to common workplace hazards, poor employee training, a lack of safety gear, or improper vessel maintenance. However, the Jones Act and various other admiralty laws usually cover employee injuries and deaths resulting from these cases.
There are various causes of injuries for maritime workers, but the most common include the following:
Depending on their specific occupation, maritime workers may suffer injuries or die following any of these accidents. Skilled maritime lawyers in Houston, such as the legal team at Johnson Garcia LLP, can help you determine whether you have a claim after an accident by determining whether there was a wrongful act or negligence on the employer’s side.
The maritime industry is a high-risk working environment, and work-related accidents and injuries aren’t uncommon. Every occupation in this industry comes with inherent dangers, and workers may suffer various injuries while working. Some of the common maritime injuries in Houston include:
The Houston maritime lawyers at Johnson Garcia have over 35 years of experience and understand the various injuries covered by the admiralty law. As such, our legal team can advise you on the benefits and compensation you may be entitled to after a work-related injury and inform you of your legal rights and options after a maritime accident.
Under the Jones Act, victims of offshore injuries can sue their employers for negligence and claim damages for a variety of related expenses and issues. Regardless of fault, seamen are also entitled to something called “maintenance and cure,” which seeks to support victims throughout recovery. The amount of damages recovered for maritime accident victims varies on a case-by-case basis.
Examples of damages that can be claimed include initial hospital bills, ongoing medical treatment and/or physical therapy, counseling, lost wages (due to being out of work), rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, insurance, and food. Victims can also claim less tangible damages, such as pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, and an overall loss of life enjoyment.
Maritime law — also referred to as admiralty law — is a set of rules that govern navigation and shipping, including activities and legal issues occurring on navigable waters. Among the common issues maritime law addresses are maritime accidents and workplace injuries for maritime employees.
At Jonhson Garcia LLP, our legal team is committed to providing unyielding support and tenacious representation to those affected by workplace accidents at sea. Whether your case falls under the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the Saving to Suitors Clause, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, or another maritime law, our team of highly skilled maritime injury attorneys has a deep understanding of these laws and the expertise to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.
Our Houston law firm can assist with several relevant legal doctrines governing maritime employee accidents and injuries, which include the following:
The Jones Act gives qualified seamen the right to sue their employer to receive injury-related benefits for injuries suffered while on the job. This federal law requires employers in the maritime industry to maintain a reasonably safe working environment for their workers. Under this law, such employees can seek damages for negligence by their employers.
Like other fault-based cases, employees should prove their employers’ negligence to receive the relevant damages. Houston maritime lawyers such as those at Johnson Garcia LLP can help injured maritime workers receive compensation by proving the following elements of negligence:
Under maritime law’s maintenance and cure principle, injured seamen or maritime workers are entitled to medical care and lost wage benefits while recovering from an offshore injury. Maritime employers and vessel owners are obligated to “cure,” which means they must pay for their seamen’s reasonable medical expenses at no cost until they attain maximum medical improvement.
Offshore workers are also entitled to maintenance after an offshore injury. During recovery, employers should meet workers’ necessary household expenses, including rent or mortgage, food, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and utilities. The Houston maritime lawyers at Johnson Garcia LLP help injured maritime workers receive maintenance and cure benefits by working with doctors to determine if the employee has reached maximum medical improvement or fully recovered.
While maritime and offshore accidents often result in catastrophic injuries, some are deadly and cost lives. The Death on High Seas Act (DOHSA) is a maritime law that applies to offshore employees and passengers who die:
Maritime lawyers at Johnson Garcia LLP can help family members or a family representative file a maritime lawsuit for the death of their loved ones under the provisions of the Death on the High Seas Act. Our proficient Houston maritime lawyers are dedicated to assisting the families of maritime workers in recovering fair damages after losing a loved one by establishing that the death resulted from neglect, a wrongful act, or a default event on the high seas.
In a wrongful death situation, the family of a deceased offshore worker may obtain various legal remedies for their loss under DOHSA. Typically, such families can receive damages for:
Initially, the U.S. Constitution granted jurisdiction over maritime cases to federal courts. However, a federal law introduced the Saving to Suitors Clause to allow parties, such as offshore workers, to pursue legal remedies in minor personal injury cases in a state court. However, specific injury and death claims, and cases where the vessel is being sued, can only be filed in a federal court.
Deciding whether to file a maritime injury claim in a state or federal court can significantly affect the outcome of your case. Experienced maritime lawyers understand the federal and state laws applicable to a maritime injury case. That way, they can help you get the types and amounts of compensation you deserve following a maritime injury.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) covers the payment of lost wages, medical care expenses, and vocational rehabilitation costs for longshore, harbor, and other maritime workers disabled from on-the-job injuries suffered on U.S. navigable waters.
This federal law also provides for the payment of survivor benefits to families and other dependents if an employee dies following a work-related illness or injury. Maritime workers are only eligible to receive benefits under the LHWCA program if:
When you choose Johnson Garcia LLP to represent you as an offshore accident victim, you get the advantage of 35+ years of combined legal and maritime experience. With our Houston maritime attorneys, you’ll get great benefits like the following:
Throughout our many years in law, we’ve handled hundreds of Jones Act cases and have helped numerous victims obtain the damages they need to cover medical treatment and more.
Our Houston maritime injury lawyers are dedicated to helping injured clients through some of the most challenging times in their lives.
Our skilled Houston maritime lawyers have previous experience defending major energy, drilling rig contractors, and oil field service companies in similar cases, which means we can anticipate the other side’s arguments in advance.
We’ve successfully recovered more than $100,000,000 for our clients.
If you’re an offshore worker who’s been injured while working aboard an employer’s vessel, it’s important that you seek the help of a seasoned maritime attorney in Houston to get the damages you deserve. While you may be tempted to simply settle for whatever you are offered and get things over with quickly, you have a right as a victim to be made whole both physically and financially. Only a Houston maritime lawyer with experience in maritime law has the necessary skills to fight for your rights as a seaman and recover the greatest amount of damages.
Without the help of an experienced Houston offshore injury attorney, you could find yourself dealing with medical bills, loss of income, and other challenges that put a strain on your family and your recovery. Fighting back against employer negligence isn’t just a way of getting your bills paid; it’s also your way of holding your employer accountable and fighting for the rights of other maritime employees. When you team up with the Houston maritime attorneys of Johnson Garcia LLP, you send a message to your employer that you expect them to respect your rights as well as their obligations.
When you’re injured on the job, it’s important for you to get an accident report to your employer as soon as possible. Have your medical providers document everything about your condition and keep detailed records of treatment. When filling out your accident report or any other paperwork, be 100% honest and include as much detail as you can.
If your employer fails or refuses to pay maintenance and cure benefits as required, you’ll need to file a Jones Act lawsuit to get the damages you deserve. You’ll need to gather any relevant injury reports, ship logs, medical records, and other documents to flesh out your claim. The Houston maritime lawyers at Johnson Garcia LLP will guide you through the process of assembling this claim and filing it with the appropriate authorities.
Be sure to speak with a maritime injury law firm.