Maritime injuries and accidents come under the scope of some unique sea laws, even if the accident or injury happened at the dock. As per federal maritime laws, you could prosecute the guilty party to claim injury compensation. A Houston maritime lawyer like: Zehl and Associates could brief you your legal rights and options and carve the right action plan.
How Maritime Laws Apply
When an individual is injured while on sea, regardless of whether he was waiting at the dock or was on a sea cruise, specific federal maritime laws – also called admiralty laws – could apply. These complex, but nuanced rules encompass legal problems pertaining to “navigable waters”.
• Navigable Water Definition, in Houston
Navigable waters refer to water bodies, like interconnected systems of rivers, oceans, seas, and lakes used for international or interstate commerce. Gulf of Mexico is the biggest navigable water body close to Houston. Lakes, shipping channels, rivers, etc. connecting to the Gulf are also marked as navigable waters as per Texas maritime laws.
Specific rules govern injuries and accidents happening at the sea or during maritime industry employment. To receive compensation, the things you should be able to prove depend on specific maritime law(s) applying to your particular case.
• The Jones Act
Also called Merchant Marine Act (1920), the Jones Act is a law requiring a seaman’s employer to provide a safe working space and a well-maintained craft. The employer could be held accountable for a multitude of unsafe scenarios on a vessel.
Compared to other maritime laws, this act’s negligence standards are quite lenient. This makes it easier for the affected seamen to file a claim and get compensation. In this case, a seaman is anyone who expends a minimum of 30 percent of his working time in navigable waters. Workers who are not seamen could be covered under general maritime law or other specific acts.
As per the Jones Act , a plaintiff is only required to prove negligence pertaining to vessel, employer, defective equipment, crew member, etc. Besides suing the employer, the Act also lets you sue a negligent party for your losses and injuries compensation.
Vessel operators and owners should provide seaworthy vessels. If they fail to do so, you can sue them for injury or other damage compensation. Several factors could contribute to the unseaworthiness claim and help ascertain the party responsible, such as.
i. The vessel and associated equipment’s working condition.
ii. Does the vessel comply to applicable laws and standards? Can it be marked seaworthy? Remember, “seaworthiness” not just refers to the ship’s working condition. Other related components such as adequate crew training, deck condition, and other related aspects also determine a vessel’s seaworthiness.
Collecting Offshore Injury or Maritime Accident Details
It is crucial to amass appropriate evidence right after an accident. A lawyer would usually investigate the accident and gather all the evidence that lets you erect a strong law-binding case.
Whenever possible, maritime staff must act quickly in case of a serious injury, thanks to an employer or other party’s negligence. Acting immediately entails:
• Taking shots of the accident spot and the adjoining areas prior to the employer could camouflage any defects or dangers.
• Seeking medical attention immediately from an independent medical care provider.
• Reporting the accident to higher authorities at work.
• Documenting all sustained injuries, regardless of how trivial or irrelevant they may appear during the time.
• Take note of all faulty equipment – for instance, improperly labeled pipes or defective lighting. Get talking with the accident witnesses or who could vouch for the ship’s unseaworthiness in the court of law or whenever it matters.
Why Hire a Houston Maritime Attorney
By now you probably realize maritime cases are complex. However, a capable Houston maritime lawyer can assist with receiving settlement that’s rightly yours by carrying out a complete investigation into the conditions or accident that resulted in the injury. The lawyer would
• Research the accident-related facts
• Know navigating every aspect of the legal procedure
• Interact with valid witnesses
• Obtain and review vital evidence thoroughly
• Consult with people from the engineering, medical, maritime industry and life-care planning sectors to devise the right action plan
Laws applying to maritime injuries and accidents offshore are addressed differently compared to laws applicable to other injuries. The maritime lawyer has complete knowledge about federal maritime regulations, rules and laws, which includes federal maritime doctrines and laws.
In addition, various maritime laws could apply to a range of working classes and situations. The compensation received could be influenced by injury circumstances and maritime laws applicable to your case. An able Texas personal injury lawyer can sift through the case particulars and come up with the best action plan.