Maritime law, or admiralty law, involves different shipping and transportation activities. Cargo disputes, oil spills, and even water pollution claims all full under the purview of maritime law. If you own a ship or work on a ship in Houston, it’s important to know that when you’re out on the open water, that you and your crew are protected under maritime law in Houston. Below, we’ll cover the different ways that maritime law protects ship owners and their employees.

What particular parts of maritime law protect ship workers?

  • The Jones Act gives ship workers the right to sue their employers for injuries and other grievances.
  • The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act gives shore-based maritime workers, and people who work in places that don’t technically qualify as vessels the right to no-fault benefits from their job.
  • The Maintenance and Cure doctrine requires maritime employers to cover medical bills, transportation, food, accommodations, and compensation for employees who aren’t able to work because of a workplace injury.
  • Unseaworthiness claims give injured maritime workers the right to hold a shipowner responsible for unsafe or negligent conditions on a ship.
  • The Death on the High Seas Act gives a worker’s beneficiaries the right to sue for a wrongful death claim.
  • In some instances, Texas personal injury laws will apply to a maritime law case.

Does maritime law apply to Houston oil and gas workers?

In the early part of the 20th century, before companies began offshore drilling techniques, claims for personal injury in the shipping industry only applied to longshoremen, crew members aboard a ship, and harbor workers. Since the oil and gas industry started to drill offshore, many court decisions extended maritime protections to oilfield workers. Many maritime workers who are part of the oil and gas industry have had success suing for personal injuries under the Jones Act. If oil and gas workers work onshore or on a fixed oil drilling platform, they’re personal injury claims fall under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

As a maritime worker, what should you do if you’re injured while at work?

  • Report the accident to your employer promptly. Report everything you know that happened according to your perspective.
  • Jot down what happened for your records. In a lot of cases, employees won’t get a copy of the accident report from their employer. In your statement, be sure to include the date and time of the accident, where it happened, what the weather was like, and the names of any witnesses. Also, account for what happened leading right up to the incident.
  • Get medical attention immediately from a doctor of your choosing. Your family care practitioner is a good start. You are not required to see a doctor who is associated with your employer. Even if you don’t think you’ve been injured, you should still see a doctor, so there is an independent medical record available. Be sure to tell your doctor exactly what happened. Always attend your follow up appointments, even if you think you’re uninjured.
  • If your pain worsens, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Keep good records relating to the accident and anything that happens afterward that is related to the incident. It’s also a good idea to keep records of your mileage and what you spent going to and from your doctor’s visits.

It’s crucial that you do not give any statements to the insurance company, or admit fault for a personal injury. Under maritime law in Houston, all maritime worker, job-related injuries are covered if the employer is deemed negligent. But if you admit fault to the insurance claims adjuster, you can jeopardize your case. You also don’t want to file for unemployment if you can’t perform your job duties. It’s in your best interests to hire a maritime lawyer in Houston who is experienced with maritime law in Houston. Your attorney will understand how to navigate the law and get the compensation you deserve for your work-related injury.