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Houston Offshore and Maritime Accidents Attorney

Seek Justice for the Offshore and Maritime Accident Injuries You Sustained in Houston, TX

Our Houston offshore and maritime accidents attorney understands that the maritime sector is a significant source of employment in Texas, including Houston, where it ranks second in the country in terms of contribution to the industry. However, the nature of the work, which involves working on docks, piers, offshore oil rigs, and refinery stations, among other roles, poses inherent risks that could lead to injuries or fatalities due to negligence. 

At Wadler Law, our attorney is well-versed in the laws that protect workers who suffer injuries or the loss of their loved ones, such as the Jones Act, a component of the Merchant Marine Act that safeguards American workers who sustain injuries at sea. 

Although not all maritime employees qualify for compensation under the Jones Act, our offshore and maritime accidents attorney in Houston Texas will carefully evaluate your circumstances and pursue the best possible compensation source for your unique situation. To learn more about our unwavering commitment to all Texas residents, contact Wadler Law today.

Why Do I Need an Offshore and Maritime Accidents Attorney in Texas?

Seeking compensation for injuries sustained in an offshore accident can be an exceedingly complicated process. Identifying the parties responsible for your injuries and filing a claim for financial reimbursement may be challenging. 

However, at Wadler Law, our Houston offshore and maritime accident attorney endeavors to simplify the claims process for you. Our legal team will handle the arduous task of pursuing your claim, allowing you to dedicate your time and energy to recuperating physically and emotionally. We are committed to being accessible to you via various means, including in-person meetings, phone calls, video calls, emails, or text messages, to address any queries you may have. 

We will also keep you informed about the progress of your case. To explore your legal alternatives, schedule a no-cost consultation with our offshore and maritime accident attorney in Houston Texas from Wadler Law today. Reach out to us by phone or by completing an online contact form.

What is the Maritime Law?

Maritime law constitutes a distinct body of regulations that pertains to individuals working on oceans, lakes, rivers, and canals. It encompasses state and federal statutes, common law principles, and international treaties. These rules govern various aspects, such as navigation rules, applicable jurisdiction, vessel operation guidelines, environmental guidelines, and workers’ safety and compensation protocols.

Unlike land-based workers, maritime workers such as sailors, longshoremen, docker workers, and offshore personnel are not covered by the same laws regarding their rights and compensation. Instead, their legal options and rights are determined by maritime law. If you are employed in the Texas maritime sector and sustain a job-related injury, it is crucial to consult a maritime law firm in Texas. 

At Wadler Law, we strongly recommend that you contact us to discuss your rights and legal options under maritime law.

What Are the Different Maritime Laws That Apply to Maritime and Offshore Accident Injuries?

Your occupation and the location of your injury can determine the relevant federal laws that apply to your case. Typically, the following are the most prevalent maritime laws that apply to injuries and fatal accidents:

The Jones Act

The Jones Act is a federal law in the United States that provides coverage for seafarers who sustain job-related injuries caused by their employer’s negligence. This law enables injured seafarers (and the dependents of deceased seafarers) to receive compensation for various expenses, including medical bills, anticipated medical costs, emotional distress, and loss of wages.

Maintenance and Cure

Under the General Maritime Law, maintenance and cure encompass the payment that a seafarer who has suffered an injury is entitled to for their daily living expenses (maintenance) and medical expenses (cure) during their recovery period. The employer must compensate the injured seafarer for maintenance and cure until they can resume work or attain maximum medical improvement.

Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides coverage for maritime workers, dock workers, and other longshoremen who suffer job-related injuries and are not protected by The Jones Act. This act guarantees medical and disability compensation to injured maritime workers, irrespective of whether the accident was caused by the employee’s negligence.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

When maritime workers are injured while working on offshore structures such as oil rigs, wind turbines, floating drydocks, and artificial islands, they are entitled to compensation under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). Essentially, this law extends the coverage of the Jones Act to encompass these structures, providing temporary benefits for medical treatment, injured body parts, and a percentage of lost wages.

Death on the High Seas Act

The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is a type of admiralty law that provides compensation to family members of seamen who have been killed in wrongful death incidents or while working at sea in international waters. It also covers airplane crashes over the ocean that occurs beyond US territorial waters..

What is an Offshore and Maritime Injury?

Offshore and maritime injuries encompass a range of personal injuries and accidents that may befall maritime employees while they are at sea, in inland waterways, or proximity to coastal waters. Seamen, longshoremen, and harbor workers encounter perilous work environments regularly, which could result in devastating accidents.

What Are the Most Common Types of Offshore and Maritime Accidents?

Performing tasks on offshore structures and boats can present a high level of risk. Some typical incidents that happen offshore and in the Gulf of Mexico region are:

Offshore Oil Rig Accidents

Offshore oil rigs can pose significant risks to rig workers as accidents involving machinery and equipment, fires, explosions, or toxic spills can occur, potentially trapping workers with limited or no means of escape.

Offshore Drilling Accidents

Offshore drilling is acknowledged as one of the most hazardous industries in the United States. Some Houston-based companies engaged in offshore drilling may not give enough importance to safety measures that are essential to safeguard their workers while working on an offshore rig.

Fires and Explosions

Offshore accidents can have catastrophic consequences, and fires and explosions are among the most severe types. These accidents can be caused by various factors such as poorly maintained equipment, improperly stored flammable substances or fuel, and collisions between vessels.

Equipment Failure

Malfunctioning or broken equipment can pose a hazard to workers, potentially resulting in burns, electrocutions, or serious injuries caused by equipment failure.

Falls

Offshore rigs and vessels contain elevated and exposed areas that workers need to frequently access. In adverse weather conditions and without appropriate safety gear, workers are at significant risk of sustaining injuries due to falls from significant heights.

Fallen Debris

When heavy objects and materials are dropped or fall on an offshore worker, it can result in head trauma and crush injuries. This is particularly true when these objects are suspended from heights.

Crushed by Machinery

Machinery can cause workers to suffer from crush injuries when they get entangled or crushed by vehicles such as boats or forklifts.

Toxic Chemical Exposure

Offshore platforms and vessels, especially those related to the oil and gas industry, contain a multitude of harmful and toxic substances. If these substances are not stored or transported safely and if workers are not provided with adequate protective gear, they may suffer from severe medical conditions, including fatal diseases.

Helicopter Accidents

The use of helicopters to transport individuals to and from offshore platforms and vessels is common practice. However, there is a real danger of crashes due to various factors, including pilot error, improper maintenance, design or manufacturing flaws, and adverse weather or sea conditions.

Barge and Tugboat Accidents

Injuries caused by fires and explosions, electrocution, or crush injuries can occur during transport when embarking or disembarking from other vessels, which may involve barges and tugboats.

What Are the Most Common Offshore and Maritime Accident Injuries?

  • Pier injuries
  • Injuries to the spine, neck, back, and brain
  • Burn-related injuries
  • Work-related injuries
  • Offshore oil field injuries
  • Falls, slips, and trips
  • Deformity or amputation
  • Paralysis

What to Do Following an Offshore and Maritime Accident in Texas?

If you have been involved in an offshore or maritime accident, taking the following steps can help safeguard your legal rights and options for seeking financial compensation for your injuries.

  • Report your accident and injuries
  • Obtain insurance and contact information from your employer and the operator of the offshore site
  • Obtain the statements or contact information of any accident witnesses
  • Document the accident site
  • Schedule a physical exam with a physician
  • Consult our Houston offshore and maritime accidents attorney

 

Who Can Be Held Legally Liable for Your Offshore and Maritime Accident Injuries in Texas?

Determining liability for an offshore and maritime accident in Texas can be complex and may depend on a range of factors, including the cause of the accident, the actions of the individuals involved, and any applicable laws and regulations. 

In general, however, the following parties may be held legally liable for your injuries:

Your Employer

Under federal maritime law, employers have to provide a safe working environment for their employees. If your employer’s negligence or failure to follow safety protocols contributed to your accident, they may be held liable for your injuries.

Third-Party Contractors

If a third-party contractor, such as a maintenance or repair company, contributed to your accident through their negligence or improper work, they may be held liable for your injuries.

Manufacturers

If a defective product or piece of equipment caused or contributed to your accident, the manufacturer of that product may be held liable for your injuries.

Other Employees

If another employee’s actions or negligence contributed to your accident, they may be held liable for your injuries.

Determining liability for an offshore and maritime accident can be complex, and it is important to seek the advice of our Houston offshore and maritime accident attorney to understanding your legal rights and options.

What is the Possible Compensation for Your Offshore and Maritime Accident Injuries?

In case of an offshore and maritime accident resulting in injuries, you may be eligible for compensation benefits from your employer under the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The benefits you receive depend on various factors, such as your employment situation and the location of the accident. 

Federal statutes for workers’ compensation make sure that maritime workers get compensated for their damages, which may include:

  • Medical expenses incurred to treat work-related injuries and illnesses resulting from your offshore and maritime accident
  • Lost wages incurred during recovery from an injury or illness
  • Costs of living during recovery
  • Loss of potential future earnings
  • Mental anguish, physical suffering, and deformation
  • If you are disabled but able to work in other occupations, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation

You may also have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against an individual or organization whose carelessness, recklessness, or other legal fault resulted in your injuries, depending on the circumstances of your accident. 

Allow our Houston offshore and maritime accidents attorney to assess your case and provide advice on the potential compensation you may be eligible to obtain.

Why Can’t I Simply Deal With the Insurance Company Myself?

Most insurance companies prioritize protecting their profits rather than your interests. Their goal is to collect as many premiums as possible while paying out as few claims as possible. To accomplish this, many insurance company employees are taught to reduce or reject your claim as soon as possible. 

Insurance representatives use various strategies, sometimes feigning concern and support to speedily settle your claim. Our offshore and maritime accident attorney in Houston Texas will act as your representative and negotiate with the insurance companies, collaborating with them or opposing them based on your claim’s requirements.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Offshore and Maritime Accident Injury Compensation Claims in Texas?

Under US law, individuals seeking compensation for injuries sustained in offshore and maritime accidents must file their claim before the statute of limitations expires. Failure to do so may result in the loss of the right to file a lawsuit against the person or business responsible for the accident. 

The time frame within which injured maritime workers must begin the legal process is determined by the federal law under which they are filing their lawsuit.

  • The Jones Act – the time limit to file a claim is three years, but in cases where the plaintiff is suing the United States government, the period is shortened to two years.
  • The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act – the statute of limitations under this law is one year, but there are exceptions. If the claim is due to an occupational disease, the filing of a claim is extended to two years.
  • The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act – the length of time determined based on the state adjacent to the offshore structure. In the case where Texas is the adjacent state, the statute of limitations is two years.

The time limit for filing a claim begins on the day the accident took place. However, in cases where the victim’s injuries were not immediately apparent and were only diagnosed weeks or months later, the countdown clock starts on the day of diagnosis. 

If you would like to have your case evaluated and receive information about your filing deadline, you can contact our legal team at Wadler Law for a free consultation with our Houston offshore and maritime accident attorney. 

Personalized Legal Assistance From Our Experienced Houston Offshore and Maritime Accidents Attorney

Our experience in maritime injury cases and knowledge of the law make us the ideal choice to handle your offshore and maritime injury case. We can determine the applicable laws and work towards obtaining the compensation you deserve to recover from your injuries and get back to your normal life. 

Get in touch with our Houston offshore and maritime accidents attorney today if you or someone you know has been injured in a ship, boat, barge, or other seagoing vessels, anywhere in Texas or the Gulf of Mexico, including Houston. Our offshore and maritime accident attorney in Houston Texas is available to assist you immediately. 

If your business or you have been affected by recent oil spill disasters or offshore incidents, please contact Wadler Law to discuss possible claims. We can also help you with Vehicular Accidents, Construction Site Accidents, Product Liability, Premises Liability, Worksite Accidents, and Dog Bites.

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