Houston Maritime Accident Lawyer

We Help Injured Maritime Workers and Their Families

Picture of a shipwreck almost under water

Maritime law is very different from the common law in Houston, TX. Therefore, it is vital for anyone working in any maritime industry to know their legal rights when injuries happen. Whether you live in the Houston area and work offshore, travel on the sea for work, or participate in any organization involved in overseas logistics, it’s vital to understand how maritime law applies if you sustain an injury at work.

The standard workers’ compensation benefits available to covered workers in Texas may not be available to you, and the maritime laws of the United States are quite strict when it comes to the rights of injured workers seeking compensation for work-related injuries. Additionally, cases that unfold under maritime or admiralty law rest entirely in the hands of admiralty court judges; there are no juries in maritime law cases.

When any maritime work injury occurs, the victim has certain legal rights under the maritime laws of the United States. However, navigating the legal proceedings that a maritime work injury can generate can be extremely challenging for any injured worker. Hiring an experienced Houston maritime accident lawyer is the best option for anyone in this situation.

Maritime accidents may leave workers unable to return to their occupations. In the worst-case scenarios, maritime workers may lose their lives. However, maritime laws provide injured workers and their family members a way to recover compensation for their damages. Our Houston maritime accident lawyers can explain your legal rights during a free consultation.

Stevenson & Murray is a Houston personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling maritime accident cases. You can learn more about our successful cases on our website. Read below for more information on the types of maritime cases we take.

Why Do I Need a Houston Maritime Injury Attorney?

You might think that liability for your recent maritime injury is perfectly clear, so you should have minimal trouble securing compensation for your losses. However, the reality is that maritime workers face much more challenging legal proceedings after work-related injuries than land-based workers covered by standard workers’ compensation insurance. The tradeoff for the greater difficulty in maritime work injury cases is that these cases often allow injured workers to secure more compensation than they would through a standard workers’ compensation claim.

Maritime injury law is complex, and these cases often draw upon one or more important federal maritime statutes the average person may not understand. Working with an experienced Houston maritime injury attorney is the best strategy in this situation. Not only can your attorney help you understand the unique details of your case, but they can also assist you in maximizing your compensation, potentially revealing benefits or grounds to claim damages you didn’t know you could recover.

While it is technically possible to approach maritime court proceedings without legal counsel, doing so is very unwise if you are struggling in the aftermath of a serious work injury. A good lawyer can not only help you navigate your case proceedings more efficiently, but they can likely help you secure a much better result than you could have expected on your own. Hiring an experienced Houston maritime injury lawyer substantially increases your chances of winning your case and maximizing your recovery as much as maritime law permits.

It’s understandable to have concerns about the potential cost of legal representation when you are already struggling with expensive medical bills and economic strain from your inability to work and earn income. Therefore, when you choose Stevenson & Murray to represent you as your Houston maritime injury attorneys, we will carefully explain our billing policy so there are no surprises regarding the cost of our legal representation in your case.

Jones Act Claims

Injured on the water? Then you may have options to recover compensation under the Jones Act, a federal maritime law. The Jones Act grants specific legal rights to maritime workers injured by negligence. This important federal law comes into play whenever an employee of any maritime business operation sustains an injury at sea or while performing maritime work duties.

Workers have the following rights under the Jones Act:

  • The right to file a claim for maintenance and cure as well as lost wages;
  • The right to file a lawsuit or claim against a negligent third party or employer;
  • If an accident occurred due to poor maintenance, the right to file a seaworthiness claim;
  • The right to choose a doctor or seek a second opinion.

Depending on the circumstances, Jones Act lawsuits can help pay for past and future wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Additionally, you may be able to obtain vocational and occupational rehabilitation.

Maritime law is very different from the common law in Houston, TX. Therefore, it is vital for anyone working in any maritime industry to know their legal rights when injuries happen. Whether you live in the Houston area and work offshore, travel on the sea for work, or participate in any organization involved in overseas logistics, it’s vital to understand how maritime law applies if you sustain an injury at work.

The standard workers’ compensation benefits available to covered workers in Texas may not be available to you, and the maritime laws of the United States are quite strict when it comes to the rights of injured workers seeking compensation for work-related injuries. Additionally, cases that unfold under maritime or admiralty law rest entirely in the hands of admiralty court judges; there are no juries in maritime law cases.

When any maritime work injury occurs, the victim has certain legal rights under the maritime laws of the United States. However, navigating the legal proceedings that a maritime work injury can generate can be extremely challenging for any injured worker. Hiring an experienced Houston maritime accident lawyer is the best option for anyone in this situation.

Why Do I Need a Houston Maritime Injury Attorney?

You might think that liability for your recent maritime injury is perfectly clear, so you should have minimal trouble securing compensation for your losses. However, the reality is that maritime workers face much more challenging legal proceedings after work-related injuries than land-based workers covered by standard workers’ compensation insurance. The tradeoff for the greater difficulty in maritime work injury cases is that these cases often allow injured workers to secure more compensation than they would through a standard workers’ compensation claim.

Maritime injury law is complex, and these cases often draw upon one or more important federal maritime statutes the average person may not understand. Working with an experienced Houston maritime injury attorney is the best strategy in this situation. Not only can your attorney help you understand the unique details of your case, but they can also assist you in maximizing your compensation, potentially revealing benefits or grounds to claim damages you didn’t know you could recover.

While it is technically possible to approach maritime court proceedings without legal counsel, doing so is very unwise if you are struggling in the aftermath of a serious work injury. A good lawyer can not only help you navigate your case proceedings more efficiently, but they can likely help you secure a much better result than you could have expected on your own. Hiring an experienced Houston maritime injury lawyer substantially increases your chances of winning your case and maximizing your recovery as much as maritime law permits.

It’s understandable to have concerns about the potential cost of legal representation when you are already struggling with expensive medical bills and economic strain from your inability to work and earn income. Therefore, when you choose Stevenson & Murray to represent you as your Houston maritime injury attorneys, we will carefully explain our billing policy so there are no surprises regarding the cost of our legal representation in your case.

This important federal law comes into play whenever an employee of any maritime business operation sustains an injury at sea or while performing maritime work duties.

If you face any maritime claim under the Jones Act, the terms “maintenance” and “cure” will be central to the injured worker’s proceedings. “Maintenance” refers to the economic relief the plaintiff needs to manage everyday expenses when they cannot work because of an injury. “Cure” pertains to the cost of medical treatment necessary to heal the plaintiff’s injuries and manage symptoms in recovery. The Jones Act upholds that an injured worker has the right to seek full maintenance and cure for any maritime work injury. When the injury they suffered resulted in permanent harm, “maintenance” may apply to their lost future earning potential and entitle them to receive compensation for new job training, while “cure” means full compensation for all medical expenses they face because of their injury.

Questions about compensation under the Jones Act? Then contact us for a free consultation. We can explain your legal rights after a maritime injury. The team at Stevenson & Murray has extensive professional experience handling maritime injury cases filed under the Jones Act. We have helped many past clients maximize the maintenance and cure obtained from their Jones Act claims and can apply this experience to your case.

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Claims

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is another federal law that helps injured maritime workers. Workers may be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits if they may have a case under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Furthermore, workers’ compensation benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act are generally more favorable than benefits provided under state laws.

Most workers’ compensation policies that apply to Houston-area workers provide some compensation for lost income when an injured worker is temporarily disabled. In addition, their workers’ compensation insurance provider will cover any medical treatment they require. The LHWCA offers more expansive benefits, including vocational rehabilitation if the injured worker cannot return to their previous job due to the severity of their injury. Having a Houston maritime injury attorney you can trust is vital if you intend to seek full compensation under the LHWCA.

To help determine eligibility, maritime workers take the Status Test and Situs Test. These tests help determine the job duties of the injured worker and where the injury took place. The injury must have occurred while the worker was conducting maritime job duties in a maritime work environment. The Situs Test pertains to the location where the injury occurred. The Status Test pertains to the nature of the injury and how it was sustained.

The LHWCA only applies to longshore and harbor workers not covered by the Jones Act. Maritime law is complex, and it can be difficult for some injured maritime workers to determine the best approaches to their injury claims. We can help you determine if you qualify for benefits under this act. Contact our Houston maritime accident lawyers for a free consultation.

Maritime Exposure and Illness

Maritime work may sometimes involve being in close proximity to harmful substances. This is especially true for offshore rig workers. Exposure to gas, industrial solvents, diesel fumes, and other carcinogens can significantly increase the risk of cancer or other debilitating health issues. Common cancers from exposure are leukemia and lung cancer.

Employers must be careful to ensure they provide workers with the proper training and safety equipment. If they fail to do so, then it could mean an employer is liable to pay damages for injuries and deaths. However, the victim will likely face several challenges in proving the root cause of their medical condition. To hold an employer accountable for any maritime-related illness or injury from exposure, the victim must prove the employer failed to uphold reasonable safety and health protocols that directly caused the employee’s condition.

The maritime injury lawyers at Stevenson & Murray can help if an employer’s negligence exposed you or a loved one to harmful substances. During a free consultation, we can explain whether you have legal rights to pursue compensation.

Maritime Accidents and Catastrophic Injuries

Maritime work environments may expose workers to flammable chemicals, heights, industrial machinery, and heavy objects. Consequently, maritime workers are at higher risk of suffering catastrophic injuries when employers cut corners on safety. Burn injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and loss of limbs are examples of catastrophic injuries that may occur in a maritime environment.

Injured maritime workers or their family members may then be able to file lawsuits against negligent employers or third parties. A successful settlement or jury verdict can then help pay for expenses caused by catastrophic injuries, including:

  • Pain and suffering. It’s possible to hold a defendant accountable for the physical pain and psychological trauma their actions have caused. Your Houston maritime injury attorney will be invaluable when it comes to calculating appropriate compensation for your non-economic damages like physical pain and psychological distress.
  • Medical and rehabilitation bills. The defendant responsible for causing a catastrophic maritime injury to the victim is liable for the cost of any and all medical treatment the victim requires to heal from their injury, restore any lost functionality, and manage any symptoms that persist beyond the initial recovery phase. A Houston maritime injury lawyer can help their client secure the documentation they will need to prove the full scope of medical expenses resulting from their catastrophic maritime injury.
  • Home modifications. In the event the defendant’s actions resulted in a catastrophic injury to the plaintiff, the plaintiff may be left unable to manage everyday household tasks on their own without important modifications to their home. For example, if you suffered any paralyzing maritime injury and require the use of a wheelchair, you may need to have wheelchair access ramps installed in your home. The defendant is liable for any reasonable home modifications you require to accommodate the disability they inflicted upon you.
  • Loss of income. Whenever a catastrophic maritime injury forces the victim to miss time at work, the defendant is responsible for the victim’s lost wages during their recovery period.
  • Loss of future earnings. Some catastrophic injuries leave injured maritime workers unable to work at all in the future. When a defendant’s actions have permanently diminished your earning capacity for the future, your attorney can help you calculate the future income you would have reasonably expected to earn had the injury not occurred.
  • Funeral expenses. Unfortunately, some catastrophic maritime injuries are fatal. Victims’ families may seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses for their lost loved one, and an experienced Houston maritime injury attorney can help them determine whether they have grounds for further legal recourse.

Maritime law can be very difficult to navigate without experienced legal counsel on your side. However, working with an experienced Houston maritime injury attorney significantly improves your chances of maximizing your recovery, especially after a catastrophic injury with life-changing effects. Contact Stevenson & Murray to learn more about legal options after suffering a catastrophic injury at sea.

How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated with Maritime Injury Cases ?

Every state enforces different laws pertaining to pain and suffering in civil claims. In maritime injury cases, many plaintiffs can seek compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological trauma they have endured from their maritime injuries. This may sound difficult to interpret in terms of monetary award from a court case, but there are several methods attorneys use to calculate appropriate pain and suffering compensation for their clients.

Some maritime injuries heal completely with time, rest, and appropriate treatment, but others pose long-term or permanent complications to victims. An attorney is likely to seek a “per diem” pain and suffering resolution when their client is expected to fully recover within a relatively short time. Per diem pain and suffering awards compensation every day until the plaintiff reaches maximum medical improvement from their injury. If the client faces any permanent damage from their maritime injury, a good attorney will likely pursue a larger lump sum to reflect the severity of their client’s condition.

Stevenson & Murray understands that the experience of your recent maritime injury was likely very traumatic, and you may struggle with a host of physical and psychological complications following the incident. Our team can provide the measured and responsive legal counsel you need to navigate your complex case proceedings as efficiently as possible. When it comes to pain and suffering compensation, our goal is to ensure the final settlement you receive appropriately reflects the severity of your experience and the long-term complications you face because of it.

Seaworthiness Claims

“Seaworthiness” is a term used to describe a waterborne vessel’s ability to safely navigate its courses. Business operations on the water are inherently dangerous; it’s possible for business owners to not only lose tremendous amounts of money if shipments become damaged or lost in transit, but the workers on an unseaworthy vessel face catastrophic or even fatal risks at sea.

Maritime employers have a legal duty to ensure their vessels are safe and fit for service. Federal law requires vessel owners to perform regular maintenance. Furthermore, vessels, such as ships, tugs, dredges, and barges, must be seaworthy. Did an employer allow a hazard to persist on a vessel? Did the employer then fail to take reasonable steps to prevent the hazard? If so, then injured workers may be eligible to file seaworthiness claims in these cases.

Questions about filing a seaworthiness claim under the Jones Act? Then contact us to schedule a free consultation. These cases are complex, and you could have grounds to seek benefits for maintenance and cure as your Jones Act claim unfolds. When you choose Stevenson & Murray to represent you in a seaworthiness claim, our team will secure the evidence and support you need to establish the defendant’s liability. This may require consulting with expert witnesses like engineers, ship inspectors, and regulatory authorities.

Diving Injuries

Divers have one of the most dangerous maritime jobs. For this reason, it is crucial that employers take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of their divers. Negligent dive managers, crew members, or vessel owners may then cause serious harm to divers. Examples of diving injuries caused by negligence include:

  • Failure to monitor the diver’s rate of ascent. Sudden pressure changes a diver experiences as they ascend from a dive are potentially fatal when they occur too rapidly. Diving managers must ensure their divers ascend at an appropriate pace to avoid “the Bends” and other injuries from rapid ascent underwater.
  • Failure to monitor airflow and oxygen. Even momentary loss of oxygen could be fatal for an undersea diver. Diving managers must ensure all breathing equipment is appropriately checked before use, stored safely, and regularly inspected. During dives, managers must carefully watch divers’ air flow and oxygen levels so they can act promptly if an emergency arises.
  • Providing faulty diving equipment. Diving managers and employers who manage diving operations must ensure the equipment they provide to their divers is fit for use. All equipment should be carefully checked before and after every dive, and faulty equipment must be repaired or replaced as soon as it is identified.
  • Failure to secure propellers or nearby objects. Divers can suffer extreme injuries from underwater hazards, and their diving managers are responsible for securing anything underwater that may pose a risk to a diver.
  • Failure to treat or evacuate an injured diver. Unexpected diving injuries may happen through no fault of any party in particular, but diving managers must take appropriate action to address these emergencies. If a diver suffers catastrophic injuries because a diving manager or their employer failed to properly evacuate them after a diving injury, they face liability for the diver’s damages.

A diving injury claim can draw upon many facets of maritime law and raise complex questions of liability. Stevenson & Murray has successfully helped many past clients navigate difficult diving injury cases, and we know how damaging these incidents can be for victims and their families. Contact us if you have questions about filing a Jones Act claim after a diving injury. Our Houston maritime attorneys can help you review potential legal options.

Injuries On Shore

Injured while working on a harbor or dock? Then it may be possible to recover compensation through the Jones Act. Workers may be eligible for compensation under this law if they can demonstrate they were working within the scope of their employment at the time of their accident.

Some workers who suffer injuries while working on shore are unaware of their legal options. Some may assume that workers’ compensation can cover their losses, but not every employer in Texas carries workers’ compensation insurance. Therefore, when maritime law applies to an injury on shore, the victim needs legal counsel they can trust to help them understand their options for legal recourse.

Stevenson & Murray has years of experience with complex maritime injury cases, including those pertaining to accidents that happened on shore. We understand that these cases are quite different from standard workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims that unfold under common law. Injured workers who are unsure of their best legal options after this type of work-related injury need legal counsel they can trust to help them secure compensation for their losses. Contact us to learn more about filing a claim for a maritime injury that occurred on shore.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death occurs when a worker loses his or her life due to another person’s negligence or recklessness. Some maritime accidents result in death. This means surviving family members may then be able to file a claim against the party responsible for their loss. Compensation from a wrongful death claim can help with funeral expenses, loss of income as well as pain and suffering.

Proving liability for wrongful death is similar to proving liability for a personal injury. The plaintiff must provide clear evidence that the defendant named in their complaint directly caused the damages the plaintiff sustained. In addition, regarding wrongful death claims under maritime law, the deceased’s surviving family must identify the party responsible for causing their loved one’s death and provide a complete list of the resulting damages.

Stevenson & Murray strives to provide compassionate and responsive legal counsel in every case we accept. We know how hard it can be to lose a loved one unexpectedly, especially when you know the death resulted from another party’s negligence or misconduct. If you believe you have grounds for a wrongful death claim under maritime law, a Houston maritime injury attorney is the best resource to have on your side as you work toward holding the responsible party accountable for your loved one’s wrongful death.

What to Expect From Your Houston Maritime Injury Attorney

Maritime law is very different from common law in various ways, and it is natural to have lots of questions about what you can expect as your maritime injury case unfolds. Success with your case not only involves strict evidentiary requirements but also meeting various court filing deadlines and navigating strict procedures. Working with an experienced Houston maritime injury attorney is the best approach to this difficult situation.

Stevenson & Murray strives to provide client-focused legal counsel in every case we accept. We’ll take time to learn as much as possible about how and where your injury occurred, which maritime laws are likely to come into play as you seek compensation for your losses, and who is responsible for causing your injury. Many injured maritime workers in the Houston area are surprised to discover they can claim much more compensation than they initially anticipated once they secure legal representation from our firm.

We’ll begin handling your case by ensuring it meets all procedural deadlines and gathering the evidence and testimony you need to ensure accountability for your injury. Next, we’ll compile your medical treatment records and perform a careful financial analysis to determine the total scope of the economic impact of your maritime injury. Our goal is to help you address your immediate needs after your injury as efficiently as possible while ensuring you receive appropriate compensation for your anticipated future damages.

Maritime injury cases differ greatly from standard personal injury suits and workers’ compensation claims filed on land. Therefore, it’s essential to find experienced legal counsel from a reliable Houston maritime injury attorney as soon as possible if you want the best chances of maximizing your recovery from this type of work-related injury. Our firm will help you settle your case as quickly as possible, but if litigation is unavoidable, we are prepared to represent you before a maritime law judge.

 Maritime Accident FAQs

Q: What Is the Difference Between Maritime Law and Common Law?

A: “Common law” is an unwritten set of laws based on judgments from past cases; most court proceedings rely on previous cases’ rulings to determine how the law applies to a case. Maritime law, also called Admiralty law, pertains to parties performing business operations at sea and parties engaged with maritime operations on land. One major difference between these two types of cases is there is no jury in a maritime case; all proceedings unfold under the supervision of a maritime judge.

Q: How Do I Prove Fault for a Maritime Personal Injury?

A: The Jones Act enables injured maritime workers to sue their employers when the actions or negligence results in injuries. Proving fault in your maritime injury case will require establishing the defendant’s duty of care and then proving they violated this duty of care in some way that directly resulted in the plaintiff’s claimed damages. Your Houston maritime injury lawyer will be invaluable for establishing liability for your injury.

Q: Can I Secure Benefits for a Maritime Injury While Filing a Lawsuit Against My Employer for Unseaworthiness of Their Vessel?

A: The Jones Act enables an injured maritime worker to sue their employer for a workplace injury. Maritime workers are not covered by workers’ compensation like most land-based employees, so Jones Act claims are a primary channel of recovery for any worker who sustains an injury because of their employer’s negligence. Your attorney can assist you in securing maintenance and cure benefits before helping you build a Jones Act suit against your employer for unseaworthiness. No statutes prevent you from receiving maintenance and cure while filing a lawsuit against your employer.

Q: Can I Lose My Job If I File a Jones Act Claim or Other Claim for a Maritime Injury?

A: Victims of maritime work injuries are legally protected from retaliation from their employers. This means that a ship owner or business owner cannot fire an employee who seeks maintenance and cure for a maritime work injury or one who files a Jones Act claim against the employer. Therefore, if you believe you have endured any illegal adverse treatment after filing your claim for maintenance and cure or a Jones Act claim, it’s vital to consult your attorney as soon as possible.

Q: How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Case?

A: Maritime law is very different from common law, and maritime court proceedings tend to unfold more rapidly. However, the exact timeline a maritime injury case will follow hinges on many variables. Therefore, if you want the best estimate of the time your case is likely to require to conclude, it’s essential to consult an experienced Houston maritime injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

Contact Our Houston Maritime Accident Lawyers

Stevenson & Murray is a Houston personal injury law firm that represents maritime accident victims and injured seamen working on the East Coast of the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, and in oil fields and ports in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Mexico, Azerbaijan, and Singapore. Many of our clients work in the petrochemical industry. However, we also have experience with maritime accident cases involving dredging work and international shipping. Additionally, we represent commercial fishermen.

We invite you to call our office or contact us for more information. To schedule a free consultation with a leading U.S. maritime accident law firm, dial (713) 622-3223 or use the contact form on our site.

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