A career in maritime work can be very rewarding, but also dangerous. If you suffered injuries as a maritime worker or lost a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult with a Texas maritime injuries and deaths attorney to learn what legal options you have to pursue damages.
Our maritime injuries and death attorneys in Texas have handled multiple cases involving maritime injury and wrongful death against Falcon Drilling, Diamond Offshore, H&P, Global Santa Fe, Transocean, Rowan Drilling, and many other major pipe laying companies. If you need an experienced maritime lawyer — someone who knows what they are doing and knows how to win — the Buzbee Law Firm should be your first choice.
Why Choose the Buzbee Law Firm to Represent You?
Maritime law is ancient — originating before the creation of the United States — and complicated. With headquarters in Houston and Galveston, Texas, and through the experience of representing hundreds of Jones Act, seaman, and other maritime workers, our attorneys know maritime law.
Our firm’s founder, Tony Buzbee, is recognized as one of the best on the Gulf Coast.
Damages You Can Seek Under the Federal Maritime Law in Texas
There are laws meant to protect injured seamen, dock workers, longshoremen, and other workers in the maritime industry. These laws provide a means for them to recover damages for injuries sustained on the job.
The laws also allow dependents to collect compensation if their loved one dies in an accident while they’re working. These include:
The Jones Act
This federal law specifically covers seamen and workers who sustain injuries while at sea, on offshore rigs, on docked ships, and on other offshore installations. The Jones Act allows injured workers to file a claim and receive compensation for the following:
- Current and future medical costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Physical pain and limitations caused by the injury
To get your compensation, you only need to prove that your employer was, in some way, negligent in their duty of care. And because the burden of proof is low, you only need to show that your employer’s carelessness, even in the smallest of ways, led to your injuries while at sea.
The Jones Act also covers wrongful death benefits. So, if a worker dies from injuries sustained in an accident while at sea, dependents of the deceased seaman can claim certain damages. Again, relatives of the deceased only need to prove that the employer’s negligence resulted in the death of their loved one.
Death on the High Seas Act
If a maritime employer’s carelessness leads to a seaman’s wrongful death while they’re at least three nautical miles away from the shores of the United States, the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) provides something called survivors’ rights to benefits.
This allows certain surviving relations to claim the benefits covered under the Act. But the dependents have to prove wrongdoing or negligence before they can claim the wrongful death benefits.
Even if there’s proof of contributory negligence by the deceased, the law still mandates the provision of those benefits to the surviving relatives –although the deceased’s negligence might mean a lower settlement amount.
The damages that beneficiaries can claim include:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost present and future financial support for beneficiaries
- Loss of income and benefits that the deceased owed the dependents
- Cost of mental health expenses necessitated by the death of the benefactor
- Additional household maintenance costs
However, there are limitations to the damages that the relatives of the seaman who died can claim, as well as, the qualifying circumstances. For instance:
- Surviving family members can’t claim non-economic damages like mental distress, grief, or pain and suffering
- The act only applies to commercial sea vessel workers – so, if someone dies at sea aboard a private or non-commercial vessel, their family members can’t claim this compensation
DOHSA’s coverage extends beyond ships and seas to aviation and commercial airplane crashes too. But to qualify for compensation under the DOHSA, the airplane accident must occur at least 12 nautical miles away from the shores of the United States. And even then, relatives can only claim noneconomic damages under the DOHSA.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides benefits to dock and harbor workers, longshoremen, shipping yard staff, and other port workers who aren’t covered by the Jones Act. These are maritime employees who do not qualify as seamen but are part of the ecosystem that makes up the maritime sector.
If you become ill or are injured while working with seamen or in some capacity in the ports, shipyards, or docks, the LHWCA can provide benefits such as:
- 7 percent of your weekly wages for as long as it takes for you to recover
- Medical expenses
- Compensation for permanent injuries, scarring, and disfigurement
- Permanent partial disability damages
In summary, the LHWCA provides a more robust workers’ comp than what’s offered by the state. But to get these benefits, you must first pass the status test –a test proving that your work falls under the job categories covered by the LHWCA.
Our maritime injury attorneys at the Buzbee Law Firm can help determine if you qualify for the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
This is an extension of the LHWCA that covers workers who are injured or deceased while working on offshore areas that are known as the Outer Continental Shelf.
The Outer Continental Shelf is the part of the United States extending from the land into its territorial waters and is at least three to nine miles off the baseline of the coasts of Louisiana, Florida, and Texas.
So, workers who become ill, are injured or are killed while working on temporary or permanent fixtures in the outer continental shelf may qualify for compensation under this law.
Unlike the Jones Act, there’s no need to prove negligence or fault. The worker only needs to have been injured while working in the region to qualify for benefits such as:
- Wage loss
- Medical costs
- Temporary or permanent partial disability
- Temporary or permanent total disability
- Survivor benefits if the worker passes from the injuries or is killed while on the job
Maintenance and Cure Law
This law specifically caters to individuals who work on vessels, offshore rigs, and other offshore installations. The maintenance and cure law ensures that workers are catered for while they’re working in these offshore locations.
Under the maintenance and cure law, employers must provide the following benefits:
- Adequate shelter and feeding
- Medical treatment in the event of an injury or illness
- Injured or ill workers can receive treatment from their preferred medical providers
- Daily wages subject to contract rates while the injured employee heals
Workers do not need to prove negligence or fault to get these benefits. The only basis for receiving maintenance and cure benefits is falling sick or suffering an injury while working aboard the rig or vessel.
At the Buzbee Law Firm, our maritime injuries and death attorneys will look at your case and identify the best law(s) under which you can seek damages. Then, using our considerable experience and skills in pursuing offshore accident and injury cases, we’ll help you or your loved ones get well-deserved compensation.
For a free legal consultation with a maritime injuries and deaths lawyer serving Texas, call 844-349-9196
When Should I File a Maritime Injury or Wrongful Death Claim?
Every act under the maritime law has a timeframe within which you must file your injury or wrongful death claims. This timeframe is known as the statute of limitations.
If the statute of limitations elapses before filing, you may have to forfeit the benefits. Here’s the statute of limitations for each law:
- The Jones Act – Depending on the situation, you must file your claim within two to three years of the incident.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) – You must inform your employer within 30 days and file a claim within one year of the accident. However, if the employer is already paying the damages, then, there’s no need to file a claim.
- Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) – Relatives of the deceased seaman –like the spouse, parent, sibling, child, or other dependents– must file claims within three years of the loved one’s death.
- Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act – Notice of injury must be sent to your employer within 30 days of the accident, and claims filed within one year.
- Maintenance and Cure Law – You have to file claims within three years. But if you end up filing after the three-year statute of limitations, the burden of proof will be on you.
Maritime injury and death laws can be quite complex. This is why you should talk to experienced Texas maritime injuries and deaths attorneys at the Buzbee Law Firm.
Our offshore injury attorneys will show you how the statute of limitations can affect your claims, guide you through the claims filing process, and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Texas Maritime Injuries and Deaths Lawyer Near Me 844-349-9196
How Much Can I Claim in a Texas Maritime Injury and Wrongful Death Case?
This is one of the most common questions that clients have –and understandably so. Every offshore accident injury case is unique because of the following factors:
- Severity of injury
- Wrongful death
- Cause of accidents, injury, and death
- The presence or lack of contributory liability or negligence
- Statute of limitations
- Medical expenses
- Temporary or permanent disabilities
- Lost income or capacity to earn an income
So, settlement amounts and damages may differ. Sometimes, clients expect a certain amount, and our maritime injuries and deaths lawyers in Texas help them get more.
Ultimately, the best way to get adequate compensation is by consulting with one of our experienced maritime injury attorneys. We’ll look at the peculiarities of your case, determine the maximum settlement amount possible, and fight to get the money for you.
Our firm has handled hundreds of maritime and offshore injury and death claims. A few selected case examples of successful representations by our offshore injury lawyers include representing 19 survivors of the BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon explosion. We resolved their claims on extremely favorable terms, including:
- A drilling pipe hit a derrickman.
- A mud hand was killed by an exploding pipe.
- A wireline operator fell off a walkway.
- A roustabout was hit with a crane load.
- A tool pusher was hit with debris.
Other Notable Maritime Law Experience
The Buzbee Law Firm was the lead legal representation for workers injured offshore during a rig collapse:
- Our offshore injury attorneys have handled hundreds of offshore injury cases for men and women injured due to negligence occurring on offshore drilling rigs and production platforms.
- We have handled hundreds of cases for workers injured while employed on vessels over water.
- We represented the Basque Government of Spain against a classification society relating to the sinking of the oil tanker ‘Prestige’ off the coast of Spain.
- We have represented numerous longshoremen on third-party claims.
Our firm represented the Port of Galveston in a breach of contract and fraud case pertaining to the construction of an offshore vessel facility that was to be built in Galveston, Texas. The firm represented a company in a breach of contract case related to that same facility.
The complicated nature of these cases demands an experienced attorney. As trial lawyers, we are ready to prepare a strong case for you to help you recover fair compensation. We do not take a case just to settle it quickly and move on to the next one; we do what is best for you and are committed to seeing things through.
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If you believe you have a claim covered under maritime law, talk to a Texas maritime injuries and deaths attorney in Texas from our firm. Contact us via email or call the office’s toll-free line today.