If you, or a loved one, work in any maritime-related industry, then you should familiarize yourself with maritime law. Maritime law is a set of rules and guidelines that govern issues related to oceans, rivers, streams, and any other navigable waters. If you have been the victim of an accident at or near the sea, then a maritime lawyer may be able to represent your interests in a court of law.
Why Consult a Maritime Lawyer?
Work on oil rigs and sea vessels pose a particular kind of danger. Each day countless men and women report to their jobs trusting that their employers will provide a safe workplace. When accidents happen, these individuals need protection and compensation for any suffering due to the negligence of their employers. Maritime lawyers are specially trained to help people who have been injured or killed at sea.
Maritime law is a particularly complicated area of law, primarily because of questions regarding jurisdiction. U.S. federal courts have original jurisdiction over maritime cases but, they do not have exclusive jurisdiction. This means that maritime trials can take place in federal court, state court, or both.
An experienced maritime lawyer understands how each individual case should be handled. They also understand the time restrictions and, they know how to get your case heard so that you can receive the compensation that you deserve.
What Types of Cases do Maritime Lawyers Handle?
Maritime lawyers often deal with injuries or wrongful death to passengers, dock workers, and seamen. These injuries can be sustained because of,
- Burns from fires and explosions
- Drownings or near-drownings
- Falls overboard
- Broken bones caused by falls from defective ladders
- Slips and falls on slippery surfaces, including ships’ decks and gangways
- Conveyor belt accidents
- Accidents on ships, including tugboats and barges
- Crane accidents caused by improper use of equipment or lack of training
Jones Act Cases
The Jones Act of 1920 gives an employee the right to sue their employer for injuries that they suffer while at sea. This act enables employees to sue their employer for negligence and recover damages for physical pain, mental pain, loss of earnings, medical expenses, and more.
In order to sue under the Jones Act, an employee must,
- Be employed on an American vessel
- Spend at least 30 percent of their time on the vessel
- Contribute to the main function of the vessel
If an individual isn’t covered by the Jones Act, they may be covered by another federal maritime law. A maritime lawyer will be able to evaluate your specific situation and determine which laws pertain to your case.
Offshore oil companies often compromise safety in the interest of lower costs. This negligence can cause serious accidents that are sometimes fatal. Maritime lawyers understand the dangers that offshore workers face and, they are able to advocate for victims and their families.
What is the Maritime Law Process?
The first step is to contact a maritime lawyer. They will discuss your case and investigate the factors that contributed to the injury. Depending on the case, they may then enter into negotiations with the employer or an insurance adjuster, begin state or federal legal proceedings, or file a suit on your behalf. When and where the case is held depends on multiple factors but, a maritime lawyer understands the best route to pursue.
Morrow & Sheppard LLP is a Houston Maritime Law Firm
Morrow & Sheppard LLP has an experienced team of Houston area personal injury lawyers who are dedicated to helping everyday people. Our team uses our education and extensive experience to fight for accident victims. We have handled billions of dollars in compensation for work-related accident victims and, we do not accept payment unless we win your case.
If you or a loved has been injured in a maritime accident, contact us for a free, confidential consultation. We want to make sure that you receive justice and compensation for your suffering.