The Attorneys You Need to Fight Offshore Injuries and Maritime Law Claims in Houston, TX.
If you’ve experienced an accident while at sea, a maritime attorney may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries. The various rules, conventions, and treaties of maritime law protect not only injured seamen and offshore oil rig workers, but also maritime workers in harbors, shipyards, and marinas. Passengers on cruise ships and other leisure vessels may also resolve legal problems through maritime law.
Maritime law, also called admiralty law, applies to all manner of offshore issues, including cargo claims, insurance issues, contractual disputes, navigation problems, salvage and treasure issues, and piracy. It’s an extensive and complex body of federal law that requires an experienced maritime attorney to navigate effectively.
Understanding Maritime Laws
Your Houston maritime injury lawyer can help you navigate the complex laws under the purview of maritime law, including:
- The Jones Act. This federal law pertains to employer responsibility for worker injuries when accidents occur at sea. This law is functionally very similar to many workers’ compensation statutes throughout the United States, with a specific focus on employers who operate at sea.
- The Public Vessels Act. This act allows for claims for damages against the United States when injuries occur on a publicly owned vessel of the United States. However, filing a claim against the government for any reason is very difficult without the right attorney on your side.
- The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). This comes into play for offshore injuries that occur along the continental shelf of the contiguous United States more than three miles offshore. While this may seem like an insignificant distinction, it is vital to determine whether the OCSLA applies to decide whether a case falls under federal or state law based on the location of the incident in question.
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). This act applies to workers operating as longshoremen and dockworkers who do not work at sea. This act effectively fits the gap between standard workers’ compensation at the Jones Act.
- Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). This act comes into play when a sailor or offshore worker dies at sea from an injury or accident sustained while performing their job duties.
- The Admiralty Extension Act (AEA). This act applies when an individual suffers an injury on land caused by watercraft on navigable waters.
- Maritime piracy activities. Believe it or not, piracy is a continual source of concern for many employers operating at sea. If you were injured by an act of maritime piracy, your attorney could help you navigate your options for legal recourse.
Ask a Houston Maritime Attorney: When Does Maritime Law Apply?
Generally, maritime law provides legal protection for workers who sustain injuries while performing job duties offshore. However, because they are technically outside the jurisdiction of Texas state law, maritime law applies when they sustain injuries working on offshore oil rigs, container ships, commercial fishing vessels, or any other type of watercraft on the sea.
Maritime workers typically face many job-related dangers, including environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, sun exposure, and stormy seas. They also often work on industrialized watercraft designed for particular purposes, often involving working with or near heavy machinery and specialized equipment. As a result, severe injuries are common, including weather-related and drowning injuries, heavy equipment injuries, crushing injuries, burns, injuries from explosions, and much more.
Maritime law provides benefits to injured offshore workers in much the same way as standard workers’ compensation. In addition, maritime law provides “maintenance and cure” to any offshore worker injured while performing their job duties at sea. “Maintenance” refers to economic payments for the worker’s lost income while they recover, and “cure” pertains to financial coverage for the injured worker’s medical expenses.
The following are seven common problems for which a maritime attorney might offer legal assistance. If you’re a Texas resident and you’ve experienced any of these issues, consider consulting with a Houston maritime attorney without delay.
Have You Been Injured While Working Offshore?
Offshore workers frequently face hazardous working conditions and the risk of injury. As most offshore accidents occur outside of the jurisdiction of Texas state law, the victims are often uncertain as to their rights to compensation. If you’ve been injured while performing a work-related task at sea, the best course forward is often to ask a maritime attorney to clarify your rights and explore your options under maritime law.
The Dangers Faced By Offshore Workers
Texas boasts the third-largest maritime industry in the nation, with over 56,000 maritime workers in all kinds of positions. Texan maritime employees work on offshore oil rigs, derricks, drill barges, fishing boats, crabbers, container ships, trawlers, longliners, ferries, cruise ships, leisure yachts, and all kinds of other private and commercial watercraft.
These varied maritime working environments pose a wide variety of injury hazards. Working on any vessel entails the danger of overexposure to the sun, collisions with other boats, stormy weather, and drowning.
Industrial vessels and oil rigs present additional risks of crushing injuries from heavy machinery, burns from fires and explosions, harm from falling objects, falls from elevated heights, respiratory problems from breathing in hydrogen sulfide, and more. Many such maritime injuries or illnesses are severe, requiring extensive medical treatment and prolonged periods away from work.
The only thing keeping an injured maritime worker from extreme financial hardship is often the protection provided by maritime law. In most maritime injury cases, this involves making a claim under the Jones Act.
The Legal Rights of Injured Maritime Workers
Offshore workers are primarily protected by the Jones Act, which is similar to the workers’ compensation law that applies to land-based accident victims throughout the US. As long as your maritime injury occurred on the high seas or in navigable waters, your case may be covered by the Jones Act.
The high seas are bodies of water outside of state jurisdiction, and navigable waters are recognized highways for commerce running across bodies of water between states and countries. The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act, is over a century old and protects eligible injured maritime workers in two main ways.
Maintenance and Cure Claims
No matter how your Houston maritime injury was caused, you may file a “maintenance and cure” claim under the Jones Act. The “maintenance” part of the claim obligates your employer to compensate you for lost wages: they must cover your daily costs of living while you’re recovering and unable to work.
The “cure” part of the claim obligates your employer to cover all reasonable medical expenses resulting from your injury while you’re still in service to the vessel. A maintenance and cure claim is a no-fault solution, meaning the employer must compensate you for these costs no matter who was responsible for the accident.
The Limitations of Maintenance and Cure Claims
In an effort to keep costs as low as possible, an employer may fail to provide sufficient maintenance payments to compensate you for reasonable living costs. If you find this to be the case, a Houston maritime injury lawyer may be able to gain you a higher maintenance payment.
Also, following an offshore injury, an employer may seek to persuade the injured worker to see the company doctor. But as the maritime accident victim, you have a right to see your own physician, who may offer a higher quality of treatment.
Maximum Medical Improvement
Victims of a Houston maritime injury also sometimes encounter another problem. Under admiralty law, both maintenance and cure must only be paid until you reach maximum medical improvement. This is the stage at which it is deemed that your injury cannot improve further, even with additional medical treatment.
Once you reach maximum medical improvement, your employer’s payments will stop, and you’ll need to pay for any future medical costs out of your own pocket. When you’ve had a serious accident with severe maritime injuries sustained, this might be disastrous.
It’s therefore advisable to speak to an experienced maritime injury lawyer before undergoing the scheduled doctor’s visit with your employer’s company doctor to determine if you’ve reached maximum medical cure. Even before filing your claim, a Houston maritime lawyer can advise you on how best to maximize your compensation.
Filing a Lawsuit Under the Jones Act
In addition to a maintenance and cure claim, in some situations, you can also file a lawsuit for additional compensation. If your employer was responsible for your maritime injury because of negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit to win greater compensation for your losses.
With a lawsuit, you may be able to pursue more damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and reduced capacity to work. You may also be able to recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, physical impairment, and loss of enjoyment in life.
A successful maritime negligence lawsuit under the Jones Act requires proof that the employer was wholly or at least partially responsible for your accident. Proving this will often require an experienced Houston maritime injury lawyer. For difficult court cases, the best maritime attorneys are usually national trial lawyers with extensive experience trying maritime law cases in federal courts.
How To Prove Employer Negligence
Under the Jones Act and general maritime law, offshore workers are well protected against employer negligence. The Jones Act requires that maritime employers ensure safe working conditions at all times. If they fail in this duty of care and their negligence causes an accident, they’re open to the risk of lawsuits.
Potentially hazardous maritime working conditions include improper, poorly maintained, or broken equipment, oil or grease on the deck, inadequate training, unsafe work methods, overworking the employees, and violence or negligence on behalf of other maritime employees. Maritime workers may also be able to take legal action if the vessel is found to be unseaworthy, which means the vessel or its onboard parts and equipment are unsafe or otherwise not fit for purpose.
Fortunately for maritime employees, the burden of proof is relatively low under the Jones Act when compared to other types of personal injury claims. But maritime companies are still often vigorously defended by their insurance companies, especially with more significant claims, which often makes them challenging to win.
It’s therefore essential to build a robust legal case with sufficient evidence to prove your employer’s negligence, especially when more serious injuries are involved or your case is going to be tried in court. The best and most experienced maritime attorneys excel at gathering the evidence required to prove employer negligence before a judge and jury.
How To File a Jones Act Claim
For an effective maritime injury claim, it’s important to report your injury at once to your captain or shipmaster. If you delay in reporting your injury, the insurance company may later argue that you weren’t as seriously injured as you claim.
If you’re in a condition to do so, take pictures of the accident scene. Try to capture photo and video evidence of any unsafe working conditions that contributed to your injury. Also, get the details of eyewitnesses who can later be called upon to strengthen your claim.
If you’re too injured to carry out these tasks, ask a coworker, friend, or family member to do it for you. If you immediately contact a maritime lawyer, they may also be able to find someone to capture evidence from the accident scene.
Beware of Admitting Fault for Your Injury
Your employer is likely to ask you to fill out an accident report. If you do so, avoid admitting any fault for the accident. If you admit any degree of fault, it will be harder to persuade a jury later that your employer was responsible.
At this early stage, you might state that you’re not yet entirely sure who was at fault, or leave that section of the report unanswered. It’s also unwise to give a recorded statement if your employer asks you to. Such a statement might also later be used to diminish the value of your lawsuit or maintenance and cure claim.
Avoid signing any forms that you don’t fully understand. Remember that it’s entirely down to you and your lawyer to protect your rights to compensation. It’s often a mistake to assume that your employer has your best interests at heart when it comes to such legal claims.
Needless to say, if you suffer a severe injury, the very first priority is to seek medical treatment. Even if you’re not severely injured, seek immediate medical care, as this will also demonstrate that your injuries are real. Make sure you follow all of your doctor’s instructions, don’t miss any follow-up appointments, and keep all medical records and receipts.
When To Speak to a Marine Injury Lawyer
Whether you intend to file a Jones Act lawsuit or a maintenance and cure claim, it’s often a good idea to speak to a lawyer right away. Maritime lawyers can provide a clear understanding of your options and the best legal path to full and fair compensation.
A lawyer will also help you to avoid costly mistakes during the claims process. On top of this, maritime lawyers have access to a network of medical experts who may be able to offer you specialist medical treatment and professional guidance on your recovery.
If you have a serious injury requiring a large settlement for the medical bills, then it’s vital that you recover full compensation for all of your costs. Taking on these maritime injury cases alone without an attorney often heightens the risk that you won’t recover a fair settlement.
It’s also wise to consider legal representation if you encounter significant problems after your accident. Such problems might include trouble getting proper medical care, being bullied by your employer or the insurance company into making a statement, or your employer outright refusing to provide maintenance and cure payments.
Maritime lawyers are familiar with these obstacles and know how to overcome them. An experienced maritime lawyer knows your rights under the Jones Act and can try your case before a judge and jury in federal court if need be.
The Public Vessels Act
If you were injured while working on a vessel owned by the United States Government, then you may be able to recover compensation for your losses under the Public Vessels Act rather than the Jones Act. The Public Vessels Act applies to any public vessel, such as coast guard boats, firefighter vessels, public ferries, and government-owned ships leased out to private contractors.
The Public Vessels Act is a fault-based system in admiralty law. To successfully file a lawsuit, you’d need to prove that your injury resulted from the negligence of your employer.
Pursuing compensation from the government in these kinds of maritime cases often proves more challenging than suing private maritime employers under the Jones Act. But once again, a plaintiff’s chances of success often increase with the assistance of an experienced maritime accident lawyer.
Have You Been Injured While Working in the Harbor?
Maritime law applies to harbor workers, dock workers, and marina workers as well. But rather than seeking compensation under the Jones Act as most injured maritime workers do, injured harbor and longshore workers are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).
The LHWCA is a federal law designed to protect all workers involved in maritime accidents who aren’t offshore seamen or shipmasters. This includes harbor construction workers, dock workers, shipbuilders, ship repairers, crane operators, stevedores, and anyone who suffers a work-related injury while loading or unloading vessels.
Certain accident victims aren’t covered by the LHWCA, such as any worker whose injury was caused by their own intoxication or willful intent to cause harm or any workers already covered by the state workers’ compensation law. If you’re unsure which law applies to your maritime injury case in Houston, TX, consult with a Houston maritime attorney who can help determine it for you.
Benefits Provided by LHWCA
Injured harbor workers and any other eligible injured workers under LHWCA may receive reasonable coverage of their medical bills and any costs of physical rehabilitation. They may also receive compensation for permanent physical impairment or disability resulting from their maritime accident.
The LHWCA also provides compensation for lost wages while you’re kept away from work by your maritime injuries. This lost wages coverage is limited to two-thirds of the injured worker’s ordinary average weekly wages.
How To Proceed With Your LHWCA Claim
As with Jones Act claims, it’s important to report your accident as soon as possible. Even though the LHWCA allows 30 days to report your injury or sickness, the quicker you report it, the easier it will later be to prove that your maritime injuries resulted directly from your work-related activities.
Again, document evidence from the scene of the accident and avoid admitting fault in any reports or statements. Seek immediate medical attention and follow your doctor’s instructions precisely. Keep a careful record of all your medical reports and bills, which will later be used to prove the costs that you need to be compensated for.
Consider How Quickly To File Your Claim
You have a one-year deadline from the date of your accident to file the formal LHWCA claim with the US Department of Labor. But as time passes, medical bills can mount up, and evidence may degrade or become lost. So it’s often best to file your claim earlier rather than later.
The only caveat here is when an accident victim is unaware of the full extent of their maritime injuries at an early stage. Unless you have a long-term or permanent injury, it’s often best to wait until you’ve fully recovered before filing your claim to ensure that the money from your compensatory payout doesn’t run out before your medical expenses do.
When To Hire a Maritime Injury Lawyer
Maritime attorneys deal with LHWCA claims regularly. They have experience with similar maritime injury cases and an in-depth knowledge of the pertinent personal injury laws. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, it’s almost always a good idea to consult with an attorney at an early stage.
If you’re experiencing trouble, a dispute, or any unfair treatment with your LWHCA benefits, don’t hesitate to retain a lawyer to fight your corner.
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act for Oil Rig Workers
The outer continental shelf covers the area reaching 200 nautical miles from the shoreline: an area of US territory that doesn’t fall under the individual jurisdiction of any state. This includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act extends the LWHCA to cover maritime accidents and injured workers in these outer shelf regions of water. The maritime industry in the Outer Continental Shelf includes oil rigs and exploration of other natural resources.
So if you are a maritime worker in the Outer Continental Shelf, your maritime accident and offshore injury may entitle you to a claim under the LWHCA because of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. This may even be the case if your rig or drilling platform is far from the shore.
Maritime workers suffering maritime accidents while performing tasks on oil rigs may be unsure whether their personal injury maritime claims are best made under the Jones Act of the LWCHA. As always, it’s best to work this out with the help of a maritime lawyer.
Has a Loved One Has Died at Sea?
The hazards involved in many jobs in the maritime industry occasionally cause deaths. Some of the leading causes of death among maritime workers include capsizing vessels, tow-line accidents, crane accidents, cargo accidents, explosions, fires, faulty equipment, inadequate emergency equipment, and improper training.
In the tragic case of a fatal maritime accident, the surviving family members of the deceased seaman are offered financial compensation by another long-standing federal maritime law: the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). The DOHSA allows for wrongful death claims to be filed against the employer if the death can be proven to have been caused by negligence or wrongful actions on behalf of the employer or another party.
For this law to apply, the worker must also have been working on a vessel on the high seas: at least three nautical miles from the shore. The surviving family of deceased harbor workers and dock workers, who don’t work at sea, would instead need to pursue death benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.
Compensation Under DOHSA
When maritime workers pass away, DOHSA may provide compensation to the surviving spouse, children, parents, and any other dependent family members. Siblings and stepchildren are not eligible to file a DOHSA claim.
The amount of compensation recovered may vary from case to case. But it usually includes lost income from the deceased seaman and also an estimated figure for their future lost earnings. Funeral expenses and other costs related to the death may also sometimes be covered, including counseling fees for the surviving dependents.
Compensation under DOHSA doesn’t include non-economic damages such as emotional distress, grief, and loss of consortium: the loss of all the support and benefits provided by a valued relationship. It may, however, be possible to recover such damages with a wrongful death lawsuit.
How a Lawyer Can Help With DOHSA Claims
A potential problem with DOHSA claims is that estimations of lost past and future wages can vary a great deal. This means it’s possible for the claimants to receive less than a fair payout. An experienced maritime lawyer can help.
The full financial damages might also be reduced if the deceased worker was found to have contributed in any way toward the offshore accident. An attorney may be able to gather evidence and present the strongest possible case to prove the employer’s negligence, disprove the victim’s contributory negligence, and maximize the damages for the surviving family members.
After investigating your case, an attorney can also advise you whether or not your case merits seeking additional non-economic damages with a wrongful death lawsuit. If a lawsuit is pursued, offshore injury lawyers can gather evidence and negotiate for a settlement or try the case in federal courts.
Have You Experienced Injury or Crime on a Cruise Ship?
Cruise ship passengers can sometimes be injured in offshore accidents resulting from hazardous conditions such as fires, slippery surfaces, improperly managed recreational activities, or drowning. There’s also a danger of crime on cruise ships, such as assault or robbery committed by crew members or other passengers. Cruise ship passengers even face the occasional risk of piracy when out on the high seas.
The owners and operators of a cruise ship owe their passengers a duty of care during the cruise; they must do all they can within reason to keep you safe from harm. Cruise ships registered in the US are subject to strict safety standards of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. This convention regulates lifesaving equipment, crew competency, firefighting equipment and procedure, navigation safety, environmental protection, and more.
Cruise Ship Injury Compensation Under Maritime Law
If you’re injured while aboard a cruise ship, you may be able to file a maritime injury lawsuit under maritime law for compensation against the company that chartered or operated the ship. In your claim, you might seek to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Obstacles When Filing a Cruise Ship Injury Lawsuit
Suing a cruise ship company frequently faces obstacles such as signed waivers, filing deadlines, hard-to-prove negligence, and issues of jurisdiction. You may have been asked to sign an Assumption of Risk waiver when you started the cruise, which would mean you cannot file a claim for many injuries.
It is sometimes possible to circumnavigate these waivers if your accident wasn’t covered by the waiver or you can prove that your accident was caused by negligence. Achieving this usually requires the work of a skillful maritime injury lawyer.
Read the Small Print on Your Cruise Ticket
Another potential obstacle is the deadline for taking legal action: cruise tickets often stipulate a strict deadline for filing any such claim, which might be as little as one year or six months. The ticket might also stipulate that all lawsuits must be filed in one specific location, which might be a federal court in Miami or California.
Other than an inconvenience, these obstacles shouldn’t prove insurmountable, provided that accident victims act quickly and hire personal injury attorneys who are licensed to try cases in federal court. In many maritime injury cases on cruise ships, the sooner you act, the more likely you are to receive fair compensation.
The Importance of Collecting Evidence
As with any maritime injury claim, it’s important to gather evidence from the scene of the accident. Take photos and videos of the scene, including any evidence of unsafe conditions.
Also, collect witness statements and contact details. Seek medical care right away and collect all medical records. And while reporting the accident, be wary of how much information you divulge before consulting with an experienced Houston maritime lawyer.
Have You Been in a Recreational Boating Accident?
While most motor vehicle drivers are well aware of the risk of road accidents, many recreational boaters don’t realize how dangerous boating can be. Collisions with stationary objects and other watercraft constitute a significant cause of death in boating accidents. Drowning, capsizing, sinking, explosions, and running aground are also common causes of catastrophic injuries or death.
Many boaters are inexperienced, and the wide open spaces in large bodies of water lull them into going too fast and driving carelessly. Boats are also very different from cars when it comes to safe control and handling: boats don’t have a braking mechanism, for example.
Alcohol also plays a major factor in boating collisions. More than half of all recreational boating accidents involve at least one intoxicated party. Occasional mechanical failure and dangerous weather conditions pose additional potential hazards.
On top of all this, many recreational boaters neglect to take proper safety precautions: 85% of drowning victims aren’t wearing a life jacket, for instance. Furthermore, when an accident occurs, you’re often far from shore and emergency aid. Overall, boats are far more dangerous than people realize, which inevitably leads to serious injuries.
The Complexities of Boating Injury Claims
If you’ve been injured or a loved one has perished in a boating accident, you might be able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost income, property damage, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and any other losses you’ve suffered. But similarly to car accidents, recovering compensation for boating accidents under maritime law requires proving the negligence of the at-fault party.
Either another boat driver must be proven to have acted with negligence or recklessness, causing your injuries, or the owner or manufacturer of your own vessel might be held responsible. But for the reasons listed above, boating accident victims are also sometimes guilty of contributory negligence, such as speeding, drunk driving, or failing to wear a life jacket.
Such contributory negligence may reduce the value of a claim. And if you’ve signed a disclaimer waiver while renting your vessel from the marina, your protection under admiralty law may be further diminished.
Houston maritime lawyers deal with many difficult recreational maritime injuries and may be able to work through these obstacles. Upon examining the wording of a waiver, for example, it may be found to be unenforceable. Furthermore, liability can often be proven with a robust presentation of evidence and expert witnesses.
Steps To Take Directly After a Boating Accident
The way in which you act directly following a boating accident may help or hinder your maritime injury case. First and foremost, you should try to help anyone in danger as long as doing so doesn’t put you at risk of injury or death.
If anyone has suffered a severe maritime injury or is missing, call or radio for emergency help. Exchange information with any other parties involved and take photographic and video evidence of boats and injuries at the accident scene.
Under maritime law, you have 30 days to report the accident and only 48 hours if someone died. And if you intend to pursue legal action or if someone is pursuing legal action against you, start consulting with Houston maritime lawyers immediately.
Has Your Cargo Become Damaged or Lost?
Over 175 million tons of export cargo moves through Texas ports each year, and an equal amount of import cargo. For ocean cargo carriers and their customers, it’s an unfortunate aspect of business that cargo occasionally becomes damaged or lost.
Overseas shipping involves the risk of water damage, damage from heavy equipment, damage or loss during multiple load shifts and handling stages, cargo ship accidents, and other risks. Cargo damage is quite a common occurrence. In fact, industry reports find that up to 11% of cargo reaches its destination with some degree of damage.
Your Legal Options for Damaged or Lost Cargo
When a maritime accident causes cargo to become damaged or lost, general maritime law allows various legal avenues for the owner to recover compensation from the carrier. If the goods were lost due to factors outside the control of the carrier, such as justifiable diversions, unforeseeable cargo ship accidents, or other “Acts of God,” you may be able to file an insurance claim to recover the value of your lost goods.
If the carrier demonstrated negligence, on the other hand, you may be able to recover the value of your goods with a lawsuit under maritime law. Such carrier negligence might include improper packaging, handling, or loading, damage while packaging, or any other breach of contract that led to damaged or lost cargo.
The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act
Most goods delivered by sea are governed by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA). This law follows the various treaties under the Hague-Visby Rules for overseas shipping. COGSA protects the shipment all the way to the destination, even if the final legs of the cargo’s journey are over land.
COGSA only provides three days following the expected date of delivery to file a claim. For a lawsuit, you have a one-year deadline.
When a Texas Lawyer Can Help With Cargo Claims
The maritime law for cargo can be quite complex due in part to the different international treaties and rules applicable to sea-bound shipments. COGSA also provides the ocean carrier with seventeen defenses against liability, which can complicate the process of proving negligence and recovering full damages.
For Texas-based shippers, experienced maritime attorneys providing Houston maritime law services are often required to unravel and win these complex cases. Despite having Houston law offices, many such experts in general maritime law can also try complex cargo cases in federal law courts if necessary.
Do You Need To File an In Rem Vessel Claim?
One interesting aspect of maritime law is that you may file a claim or lawsuit directly against a vessel or any other maritime property rather than against the owner. In these cases, known as in rem claims, the vessel itself becomes the defendant.
The purpose of an in-rem claim is to technically arrest a vessel in order to enact a lien. This lien allows the vessel to be sold so that the plaintiff may recover compensation for losses the vessel’s owner is liable for.
Offshore workers might file an in-rem claim against a vessel to recover wages owed. In rem claims and lawsuits might also be used to recover compensation in various other maritime cases, such as the personal injury claims of seriously injured workers, damages in a collision claim, damaged or lost cargo claims, duties owed for cargo, salvage services received, respondentia, bottomry, and more.
Only federal courts may enforce in rem claims under maritime law. Plaintiffs need to file in rem claims and lawsuits with the United States District Court. And these rather unique maritime cases can only usually be handled by experienced maritime attorneys with in-depth know-how of the maritime industry and maritime law.
Why You Need a Houston Maritime and Offshore Injury Attorney
Whenever you face any type of legal case, it’s vital to have legal counsel from a Houston maritime lawyer who has professional experience handling that specific type of case. For example, an injury case filed under maritime law is very different from a standard personal injury claim.
What Our Houston Maritime and Offshore Injury Attorneys Can Do For You
Navigating any type of civil claim is difficult when you do not have reliable legal representation on your side. This is especially true for any situation involving maritime law, as these laws are precise and complex. The maritime injury attorneys at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, have years of experience representing clients in a wide range of complex civil cases, including those that fall within the purview of maritime law.
The Benefits Provided by Maritime Attorneys
As you can see, maritime law is a highly specialized and complex field that often requires specialist offshore injury lawyers to successfully navigate. Injured maritime workers seeking compensation for their losses under the Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act, have only one chance at receiving a compensatory payout, and without the legal guidance of maritime injury lawyers, injured seamen may miss out on recovering a good deal of money.
Whether you’re filing a claim regarding a work-related injury, the loss of a loved one, an accident on a cruise ship, damaged or missing cargo, a boating accident, or something else altogether, Houston maritime attorneys can help establish which maritime law applies to your case. For all case types, offshore injury lawyers may be able to investigate thoroughly, gather evidence to prove liability, handle insurance companies on their client’s behalf, and fight hard to achieve the best possible outcome under maritime law.
Reducing the Stress of the Experience
Injured seamen and all maritime accident victims find themselves in a stressful situation. Dealing with an injury, mounting medical bills, possible property damage, and sudden loss of wages is a difficult enough ordeal for anyone to go through.
Facing a complex legal battle for compensation only adds to the stress of the experience. But hiring a Houston maritime lawyer provides you with an ally in your fight.
The reassurance and peace of mind that Houston maritime attorneys provide is an often overlooked benefit that may help make the following months or years of a plaintiff’s life far more bearable. No matter your Houston maritime injury, a lawyer with a Houston law office may be able to deal with insurance companies, employers, correspondence, and courts on your behalf, freeing you up to dedicate more energy to recovering your health and returning to a normal life.
If you’ve suffered any kind of maritime injury and are seeking compensation for your losses, contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC today at 936-251-5246. We believe in your right to pursue full and fair compensation, and our experienced maritime attorneys fight hard to achieve the optimal legal outcome for all of their clients.