Houston Maritime Attorney - Houston is known for more than just oil and aerospace. In fact, a recent study revealed that Houston is the second-ranked city in the US for jobs related to the movement of cargo between US ports through the maritime industry. Only New Orleans has a higher number of workers in this field. When the workers from all Texas ports are taken into account, Texas ranks third among US states for cargo transportation between American ports.
The Port of Houston comprises more than 200 private and public terminals, handling over 8,200 seagoing vessels and 215,000 barges annually. Many maritime employees live in the Houston area.
Given these statistics, it's not surprising that there are numerous maritime injury cases in Houston. Maritime workers who are injured at sea don't have the same resources and protections as land-based workers, and often need to hire a maritime injury lawyer in Houston to defend their rights and help them recover losses resulting from their maritime injury.
A World of Difference: Working at Sea
Working at sea can be a unique and challenging experience. The environment is different from the typical land-based job, with its own set of rules and hazards. Maritime workers may find themselves facing rough seas, long periods of isolation, and limited access to medical care and other resources. These conditions can make it difficult for workers to seek help or support if they are injured or encounter other issues while on the job.
Maritime workers also have different legal protections and rights than land-based workers. These laws, known as maritime law, can be complex and can vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case. If you are a maritime worker who has been injured at sea, it is important to seek the assistance of a qualified maritime injury lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system and fight for your rights.
Maritime Law & Admiralty Law Are the Same Thing
Maritime law and admiralty law are related but distinct legal areas.
Maritime law is a body of laws that govern activities that take place on or near the water, including shipping, navigation, and commerce. It covers a wide range of issues, including marine accidents, cargo disputes, and maritime contracts.
Admiralty law is a specific branch of maritime law that deals with issues related to the operation and management of ships, as well as the rights and responsibilities of shipowners, crew members, and other maritime workers. Admiralty law is primarily concerned with the regulation of commercial shipping and the resolution of disputes that arise in this context.
While both maritime law and admiralty law are concerned with legal issues related to the maritime industry, they are not interchangeable terms. It is important to understand the specific legal issues at hand and seek the assistance of a lawyer with expertise in the relevant area of law.
When to Call a Maritime Lawyer
There are several situations in which it may be advisable to call a maritime lawyer. Some examples include:
- If you are a maritime worker who has been injured while working at sea, you may need to seek the help of a maritime lawyer to defend your rights and help you recover losses resulting from your injury.
- If you are a shipowner or operator and you are facing a legal dispute related to your business, a maritime lawyer can provide guidance and representation in court.
- If you are involved in a marine accident or incident, a maritime lawyer can help you understand your legal options and represent you in any related legal proceedings.
- If you are involved in a dispute related to a maritime contract, such as a charter party or bill of lading, a maritime lawyer can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and negotiate a resolution.
In general, if you are facing a legal issue related to the maritime industry, it is a good idea to consult with a maritime lawyer to understand your options and protect your rights.
The Merchant Marine Act / Jones Act of 1920
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, is a federal law that regulates the shipping industry in the United States. It establishes the rights and responsibilities of shipowners, vessel operators, and maritime workers, and provides legal remedies for workers who are injured on the job.
One of the main provisions of the Jones Act is the requirement that vessel operators maintain a safe workplace and provide their employees with a seaworthy vessel. If an employee is injured due to the negligence or fault of the shipowner or operator, they may be entitled to financial compensation under the Jones Act.
The Jones Act also gives maritime workers the right to bring a lawsuit against their employer for injuries sustained on the job. This is known as a "Jones Act claim." In order to bring a successful Jones Act claim, an employee must show that their injury was caused by the negligence or fault of the shipowner or operator.
In addition to providing legal protections for maritime workers, the Jones Act also promotes the growth and development of the American shipping industry by encouraging the use of American-built and -owned vessels for transportation between US ports.
What is a “Seaman?”
Under the Jones Act, a seaman is defined as a worker who spends a significant amount of their time working on a vessel that is engaged in maritime navigation. In order to qualify as a seaman, a worker must contribute to the mission of the vessel and the overall operation of the ship.
The definition of a seaman under the Jones Act is broader than the traditional definition of a sailor or mariner. It includes not only deckhands and other crew members, but also officers and other workers who are integral to the operation of the vessel, such as engineers and cooks.
The distinction between a seaman and a land-based worker is important because seaman are entitled to certain legal protections under the Jones Act that are not available to land-based workers. For example, seaman have the right to bring a lawsuit against their employer for injuries sustained on the job, whereas land-based workers are typically limited to seeking workers' compensation benefits.
If you are a worker who spends a significant amount of time working on a vessel and you have been injured on the job, it is important to seek the assistance of a qualified maritime lawyer to understand your rights and options under the Jones Act.
Types of Maritime Injury Cases
There are many types of maritime injury cases that can arise. Some common examples include:
- Accidents and injuries that occur on board a vessel, such as slips and falls, equipment failures, and fires.
- Injuries sustained while performing duties on the vessel, such as loading and unloading cargo, repairing equipment, or working in hazardous conditions.
- Illnesses that are caused by the working conditions on a vessel, such as exposure to toxic substances or prolonged exposure to the elements.
- Injuries sustained while working on an offshore oil rig or platform, such as explosions, fires, and equipment failures.
- Injuries sustained while working on a tugboat, barge, or other small vessel.
- Injuries sustained while working on a ferry or passenger ship, such as slips and falls or accidents involving passengers.
In each of these cases, a maritime worker may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and related losses. It is important to seek the assistance of a qualified maritime lawyer to understand your rights and options in the event of a maritime injury.