Whether you are injured a few metres away from the shore of a lake, or hundreds of miles out at sea in the middle of a tropical storm, you might need the services of a maritime lawyer. Houston, TX, sees hundreds of maritime accidents and injuries every year, and their experience can mean the difference between a generous settlement or a painful court process. Here are some of the situations where their skills come in useful.
3 Situations to Consider a Maritime Lawyer
1. If You Are Injured on an Offshore Oil Rig
It is probably not surprising to read that offshore oil rigs are dangerous places and that workers on those rigs are subject to serious risks throughout their careers. Some of these are simply the result of the dangerous nature of the work, dealing with unpredictable natural forces in tricky conditions in remote locations. Explosions or fires will occur, maybe through corrosion of metal containers, because of human error, or as a result of procedure failures.
Some risks are the result of poor standards on the part of companies who manage oil rigs, leading to materials being used and stored improperly, or bad maintenance of tools might lead to failures at critical moments which result in injuries. The state of Texas accounts for 40% of all oil rig fatalities in the US, with around 45 laborers every year. This is the downside of the huge prosperity oil brings to Texas, and to Houston in particular.
If you are injured in an accident on an offshore oil rig, it is essential to contact one of the maritime lawyers in Houston, TX quickly. There are a variety of laws that might apply to your particular case, and it is easy to be overwhelmed or pressured by big companies into accepting a smaller settlement than is really owed. A good maritime attorney will advise you on how to prepare for your case and ensure your losses are compensated.
2. If You Are Injured While Working as a Seaman
Just like with workers on offshore oil rigs, seamen regularly perform complicated and dangerous work involving heavy machinery and do so in weather conditions that increase risks by a huge factor. Even simple and safe tasks can become potentially lethal if the sea is causing workers difficulties, whether that is far out from shore, in harbors, or even on inshore bodies of water such as rivers and lakes. Just because you’re not at sea doesn’t mean you’re not at risk.
Unlike those who are working on the land, seamen and maritime workers are not covered by the regular legislation you might expect in the event of injuries or even death. Established in 1920 and revised in 2006, the Jones Act was created in order to remedy this unfairness, by providing certain kinds of maritime workers with eligibility to claim benefits and compensation from employers who are found liable for their injuries caused by working at sea.
Claiming liability in the case of a maritime injury, therefore, involves not only establishing the cause and extent of your injuries but also requires establishing whether or not you are covered by the Jones Act and whether your case falls within the statute of limitations for maritime injuries. Your attorneys can use the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, and the Death on the High Seas Act to demonstrate your employers’ liability and your losses.
3. If You Are Injured While on a Pleasure Boat
Although you might think that sailing a boat is less risky than driving a car or riding a motorbike, since there are fewer things to bump into and fewer vessels nearby, they can actually be far more dangerous. Unlike vehicles on land, boats do not come with effective brakes, nor are passengers usually protected by crumple zones, seatbelts, airbags, or padded seats. It may be true that a crash is less likely, but it will probably also be more damaging.
Boating accidents might be the result of drivers showing off to their passengers, unexpectedly dangerous weather conditions for which the driver is not prepared, a loss of concentration at a critical moment, or the unfortunately common drunkenness and intoxication. Whatever the cause may be, the results are likely to be serious and costly given the size and power of most pleasure boats.
Many pleasure boat owners and operators are unaware that their relatively tiny vessel is bound by the same legislation that governs huge ocean-going ships and liners. This means that if you have been involved in an incident on a pleasure boat you will likely be faced with legal ramifications on a massive scale, with complexity more common to international disputes than ordinary car accidents. Trying to wade through all of these things yourself is an overwhelming prospect, so get some quality legal help.
Contact a Maritime Lawyer in Houston Today
Whether your injury is big or small, and your damages are crippling or just inconvenient, get in touch with an attorney as soon after the incident as you can, to get the best advice on how to proceed and what to watch out for.
If you work on the water, or just enjoy a weekend’s fishing, hopefully, you’ll never need the services of an attorney. But when you do, make sure to find the most skilled and experienced lawyers you can. Their knowledge and commitment will let you focus on recovery while they represent your interests.