Houston Maritime Explosion Lawyers
Houston-based offshore workers face serious risks every day. Many dangers exist as they work on offshore vessels and facilities, such as gas leaks, extreme weather conditions, falling objects, fires, and explosions. Maritime law protects such workers in the event of accidents, ensuring they secure sufficient compensation for their injuries and losses.
An explosion at sea, whether a gas explosion, an oil rig explosion, or a boiler explosion, can result in catastrophic injuries or, even worse, the loss of life. Such a situation requires the help of experienced Houston maritime explosion lawyers to defend your rights.
Any explosion, regardless of where it happens, can be life-threatening. When an explosion occurs offshore, injured victims are usually far away from medical facilities where medical professionals can save their lives or improve their outcomes. For example, suppose a victim is severely injured and requires immediate brain surgery. In that case, this must be done in a hospital with suitable medical equipment and the right staff trained for such procedures. Let’s face it, you don’t expect to find a brain surgeon on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean.
If you or a loved one has been hurt or passed away due to a maritime explosion, the lawyers at Johnson Garcia are here for you. Our legal team will explain your legal rights and options for justice. We’ll also help you understand how maritime law may affect your case. Call 832-844-6700 now to book a free consultation.
Common Causes of Maritime Explosions in Houston
It’s without a doubt that the explosion of the oil drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in 2010 was one of the worst and most infamous maritime explosions in recent years. The oil rig that eventually sank, claiming 11 lives, was the largest oil spill in the history of oil drilling operations. Approximately 4 million barrels of oil flowed from the damaged well for nearly 90 days.
Upon investigations, it was discovered that shortcuts, including a lack of cement at the well’s base, led to the accumulation of natural gas that later blasted the drilling platform, resulting in a fire. Human and mechanical errors were to blame for the horrific incident.
As seen above, explosions may occur when employers fail to enforce proper safety standards or when workers disregard such standards. Some of the common causes of maritime explosions include:
- Oil rig fires
- Engine room failures
- Oil and gas leaks
- Electrical fires
- Equipment malfunctions
- Vessel accidents
- Violation of safety protocols
- Defective fire safety systems
- Inexperienced or improperly trained crew members
Most maritime explosions are preventable. Negligence plays a significant part in such offshore explosions. Some of the negligent parties who may be responsible for these accidents include:
- Contractors and subcontractors
- Equipment manufacturer
- Crew members
Common Maritime Explosion Injuries in Houston
Offshore explosions on vessels and oil rigs can cause catastrophic injuries, including:
- Burn injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries from falls and blasts
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures
- Hearing and/or vision loss
- Fatal injuries
Due to the severity of the injuries involved in maritime explosions, our Houston maritime explosion lawyers recommend that you seek immediate medical attention after a blast. Don’t disregard visiting a doctor. You may have sustained a concussion or experienced internal bleeding that requires prompt treatment. Let your doctor determine if you are okay.
Maritime Worker Protection Under Federal Law
Several federal laws protect maritime workers injured or killed due to negligent acts or omissions in offshore explosions. They include:
The Jones Act
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, governs maritime cargo transportation. It bans foreign carriers and crews from operating on domestic water routes. The act also protects offshore workers, including those on ships, tankers, tug boats, ferries, cruise ships, floating oil rigs, and commercial fishing vessels. It covers their medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses associated with their injuries.
Here are a few examples that may warrant claims under the Jones Act:
- Failure to adhere to safety guidelines, which results in offshore explosions.
- Slip and fall accidents due to a lack of warning signs.
- Failure by third parties to conduct inspections on installed equipment, resulting in blasts.
The Death On The High Seas Act
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) was passed to help surviving family members of deceased maritime workers. It applies to fatal incidents occurring over three nautical miles from U.S. waters, including territories. Damages under this act are available to the spouse, parents, children, and dependent relatives.
The Longshore And Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that offers compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and vocational rehabilitation services to workers disabled due to work-related injuries that occur in the navigable waters of the U.S. The act also offers survivor benefits to family members after the wrongful death of their loved one due to on-the-job injuries. Typically, these benefits are covered by the employer’s insurance company or the employer if they are self-insured.
Some of the employees covered under the LHWCA include:
- Longshore workers
- Harbor construction workers
- Ship repairers
- Dock workers
- Cargo workers
Maintenance And Cure
The right to maintenance and cure is similar to workers’ compensation. If a crew member suffers an injury during a maritime explosion, the law requires their employer to cover injury-related costs. Cure costs refer to medical treatment expenses, while maintenance costs refer to day-to-day living expenses. These benefits are generally no-fault, implying that injured sailors don’t have to prove liability to receive them.
Discuss Your Legal Options With Our Houston Maritime Explosion Lawyers
Injured in an offshore explosion? You can talk to the legal team at Johnson Garcia for free about your maritime injuries. Our Houston maritime explosion attorneys will review your case and advise you on the next steps to take to secure the best possible compensation.
Johnson Garcia is ready to take on all parties responsible for your injuries after an explosion. We will answer all your questions and address any concerns that you may have about your case. To learn more about your legal rights and maritime law, schedule a free initial consultation today or call 832-844-6700 to speak to one of our Houston representatives.