Offshore oil can be a dangerous job in Texas, leading to injuries and death. Our maritime injury attorneys can help you understand your legal rights if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a Texas port, waterway, or maritime accident.
Texas ports move enormous quantities of cargo, more than any other U.S. ports combined. In fact, Houston, Corpus Christi, Beaumont, Texas City, and Port Arthur all rank in the top 20 U.S. ports by total tonnage. Unfortunately, maritime accidents in Texas ports are a frequent occurrence, with many people sustaining injuries or even death as a result of another party’s negligence.
A maritime worker employed in a Texas port is likely to be exposed to dangerous working conditions, harsh elements, and accidents. If you are a maritime worker who suffers a maritime or offshore injury, you should consider speaking with a Texas maritime injury attorney to understand your legal options.
How Common are Offshore Oil Accidents in Texas?
Texas ports are responsible for handling nearly $450 billion in Texas economic activity, as well as adding approximately $1 trillion in value to the U.S. economy. They were transit hubs for nearly 500,000 cruise passengers, while moving nearly three million containers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With such a large amount of economic activity comes a similarly large responsibility to keep Texas maritime workers safe. The Texas Gulf port industry directly employs over 128,000 workers in the form of seamen, dock workers, and more. An additional 1.7 million more people are employed as an indirect result of Texas maritime activity.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that out of the 663 workers killed in U.S. oilfields, a shocking 40% of those deaths occurred on Texas oil rigs. Offshore oil can be a dangerous job, especially in the state of Texas. Serious fires and explosions also occur in these rigs every few years, leading to burn injuries and deaths. Other than offshore drilling rigs, injuries and deaths happen commonly in fishing boats, shrimp boats, tug boats, and other offshore vessels.
Applicable Laws for Maritime Injuries in Texas
Admiralty law is the specific area of law that deals with events that occur on navigable waters. In Texas, this commonly covers incidents that happen in the Gulf of Mexico, but the definition of ‘navigable’ extends further than the ocean; it also applies to public waters such as large lakes and rivers. Thus, in Texas, a stream may be considered navigable if it keeps an average width of 30 feet from the mouth up. Generally, waters in their natural state that are useful to the public for most of the year are considered navigable. This may even apply to the stream bed area where the stream goes dry for certain parts of the year.
Both maritime and admiralty laws may affect Texas maritime worker claims, recreational boating accidents, as well as certain cruise ship passenger claims. A seasoned Texas admiralty attorney would be able to explain which legal provisions fit best in your case.
Texas Longshoreman and Harbor Workers’ Rights
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal statute that covers Texas maritime worker injuries. The law enables longshoremen and harbor workers to recover both medical costs and two-thirds of their average weekly wages during periods of disability if they have been injured on the job. It is helpful to speak to an experienced Texas maritime injury lawyer to make sure you are paid the full amount to which you may be entitled.
The Jones Act
The Jones Act is a federal law that applies to maritime workers who have been injured on the job. It provides extensive rights and protections as long as they can prove the employer was negligent and in some way at fault for their injuries.
You may be covered under the Jones Act if you work as a commercial diver, inland river worker, or offshore worker in certain circumstances. You will likely be covered under the Act if you work on any of the following vessels engaged in travel or commercial trade:
- Offshore oil rigs
- Fishing boats
- Cruise ships
- Tug boats
- Container cargo ships
- Salvage ships
- Charter boats
Proving negligence at sea or on the water can be complicated, but there are many ways to build your case. A Texas maritime attorney can show how your employer’s negligence may have caused your injury so as to prove the applicability of the Jones Act.
Seamen who sustain injury or illness while on service of their vessel may have the right to receive compensation for past and future lost wages, past and future pain and suffering, as well as benefits like retirement and money for medical care, among other benefits. Cruise ship passengers, recreational boaters, offshore vessel workers, and anyone else who shares Texas waters may also be eligible under admiralty laws in terms of certain other rights and responsibilities.
If you have been injured in a maritime accident, do not let insurance companies take advantage of you during such a vulnerable time. Instead, let our relentless Texas maritime injury attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP fight for rights you may not even know you have when you have been injured or fallen ill at sea.
Maritime piracy has existed for almost as long as maritime commerce. Cases involving maritime piracy may involve claims not only for injury, but also for trauma, pain, and suffering.
Why Do I Need a Texas Maritime Injury Lawyer?
Maritime law in Texas is very different than general workers’ compensation or injury law. If you have been injured in a Texas maritime accident, you should have a maritime legal specialist by your side. You may want to reach out to an attorney before you sign anything or accept a settlement offer from an insurance agent.
While most cases can be settled without going to court, litigation may sometimes be in your best interests to ensure that you receive the full amount of coverage for your injuries, along with damages for any related trauma. A consultation with our Texas maritime attorneys is free and you do not have to pay anything for our services unless we recover the money for you.
Contact Our Texas Maritime Injury Lawyers Today
Our Texas maritime injury attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP are here to guide you on the necessary legal recourse in case of maritime accidents. We can help you identify the relevant areas of maritime law that may apply to your case, and fight to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
You can reach out to us online for a free consultation with a skilled maritime accident legal expert today.