Houston Maritime Law Attorneys

Why Hire an Offshore Accident Lawyer?

Simple! We Win.
Experienced Maritime Injury Lawyer with Proven Results!

Maritime occupations are particularly hazardous.  While your employer has the obligation to protect you and to minimize risk of injury, working on vessels and rigs is inherently physical work, and foreseeable injuries happen – especially when employers are lax in their procedures, maintenance, and oversight.  Employers often fail to protect their dedicated workers.  We handle Jones Act, Longshore Act and rig workers’ claims.  We try cases to the state, federal and administrative courts across the nation.

Accidents and Injuries can end your career as a seaman, longshoreman or oil rig worker.  The physical demands of working at sea, make injuries to hands, arms, legs or back very possible and possibly catastrophic. Your livelihood and support of your family is at stake.

If you have been injured, as a seaman, longshoreman, or oil field worker, you need to fight for the compensation you deserve. Your employer or its insurer is unlikely to compensate you fully.  You expect and deserve representation to fight for your rights and get you what you need for a full recovery.  We have maritime attorneys who can help fight for your rights.

Admiralty and Maritime Law Definition.

The admiralty and maritime practice involves all aspects of legal work relating to marine activities. This includes litigation, commercial transactions, and non-litigation counseling, as well as regulatory work before federal and state agencies. Firms with litigation caseloads generally represent clients in matters involving collision, personal injury, cargo loss, workers’ compensation, maritime commercial disputes, and insurance coverage relating to inland marine vessels, oceangoing vessels, passenger vessels, drill rigs, and other offshore equipment. Frequently, these firms also handle marine related issues involving mass disasters, major pollution incidents, toxic torts, and class actions. Due to the nature of when and where clients’ needs arise, attorneys in this practice frequently are on call 24 hours and travel to distant and sometimes remote locations. In the areas of commercial and counseling, maritime attorneys handle issues relating to vessel sales, shipyard contracts, maritime insurance counseling and evaluation, contract and charter drafting and negotiations, and maritime finance advice. In the context of the regulatory arena, attorneys typically appear before the United States Coast Guard, Federal Maritime Commission, United States Department of Labor, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Features of Admiralty Law.

Maritime law set forth many of the basic legal tenants associated with the sea and seamen, including: The right of a rescuer to claim a Marine Salvage award for recovering property lost at sea. The right for creditors and seamen who are owed wages to have a Maritime Lien against a vessel as a security interest to ensure they are paid. The duty for ship owners to provide reasonable care to passengers. If negligence results in a passenger injury, suit may be brought against the shipowner just as if the injury had occurred on land. The benefit of maintenance and cure, which requires ship owners to care for injured crew. Maintenance obligates ship owners to provide seamen with basic living expenses      until they can return to work. Cure obligates ship owners to provide free medical care—even if that care is long-term or permanent until an injured seaman reaches the state of maximum medical cure (i.e., returned as close as medically possible to the condition the seaman was in before the injury). Jurisdiction in Maritime Law Cases. In the U.S., jurisdiction over admiralty law matters was originally given to the federal courts. However, today most admiralty cases can be heard by both state and federal courts under the saving to suitors clause in Title 28 of the United States Code (28 U.S.C. § 1333). The exception to this is any matter involving maritime property; those cases may only be tried in federal court. If a state court presides over an admiralty case, the court is required to apply admiralty or maritime law rather than its state law.

How Does Maritime Law Provide for Hurt Workers?

Without maritime law, injured seamen would be left on their own to counteract suffering they sustained while working. Anytime a ship employee becomes   injured or sick, the vessel owner is required to reimburse their losses. Maritime law refers to this reimbursement as maintenance and cure, meaning that until the seaman fully recovers, the employer must provide for their affliction. The court views this obligation as an unquestionable duty that the shipowner owes any seaman aboard their vessel. Seamen are also eligible to recover full wages for the length of the voyage during which they sustained injuries or illness. An employment contract may dictate the amount of unearned wages a seaman can receive. Maintenance and cure refer to the benefits a seaman is entitled to until he/she recovers and is fit for duty. However, there is a maximum medical improvement (MMI) limit that can control the amount of compensation received.   Because many ship owners are loathe to pay the highest amount possible, they either follow old rates (from $15 to $35 a day) or regulate cure benefits by hand-picking covered medical treatments. The U.S. Supreme Court states the duty to provide maintenance and cure must be broad and inclusive. In the case of compensation, the seaman is almost always favored when skepticism is involved.

Recovering Full Costs for Maritime & Offshore Accidents.

Following a serious accident, injured seamen may face a host of costs. These do not only have an immediate impact but can affect them for many years to come. In almost all cases, the immediate effects are obvious in the inability to work, steep bills, and the pain and suffering associated with the injury or illness. Even the future costs of rehabilitation are often well-known. However, it is not always easy to see what the future costs of an injury will be. In some cases, the individual may require lifelong medical attention or may eventually pass away from the side effects. For this reason, it is crucial that the injured and their family recover just damages for the injury under maritime law.

Maritime Injuries: Do You Know Your Rights?  

After an accident, one of the most important things you can do is to ensure all of your needs are met: medically, legally, emotionally, and financially. However, this can be difficult. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind a few issues that could be compromised.

  • First, remember you have the legal right to select your doctor. Never feel obligated to choose the doctor’s office or attending physician your business or insurance company may be pushing on you. Often, you will    need to see the recommended doctor for an evaluation, but this is the extent of your obligation. Who you choose for treatment is up to you and should not be threatened by any employer or adjuster you may be working with in regard to your case.
  • Second, you are entitled to medical treatment. The provision of medical benefits is protected under the Jones Act, so injured maritime workers need not worry about being compensated for recovery. This is true regardless of who may be at fault for the accident. Furthermore, the Jones Act protects injured seamen who may be given differing opinions by doctors. This means that if one doctor recommends treatment while another claims it is not necessary, the disagreement will be resolved in favor of treatment. Unfortunately, many injured seamen have not been hurt for the first time. However, if a pre-existing condition is aggravated, then employers will be obligated to ensure that adequate coverage is provided. All that will be needed is an evidentiary statement made by your doctor on your behalf. You are entitled to medical benefits and financial maintenance payments, whether or not you sign paperwork brought forth by an insurance adjuster.  In fact, it is in your best interests to be cautious of any documents brought to you by an insurance adjuster; these often do not have your safety and well-being as a priority. As such, you should be hesitant to sign any paperwork under the condition that medical benefits and/or maintenance payments rely on a signature.
  • Third, you are not required to give a recorded statement after any sort of accident and/or injury. Of course, reporting the incident as quickly as possible is a crucial step of the process; however, attention must be paid to the fact that many accidents can affect the memory and mental functioning of an injured person. Therefore, it is unwise to record a statement of events that may later need to be adjusted—a process that can prove to be quite difficult.  From the initial filing of a claim to the preparation and proceedings of a court case, there are a number of instances in which your rights can be compromised. Unsympathetic employers and insurance companies care little, if at all, about the well-being of injured employees. Therefore, is it imperative to seek legal representation from an attorney who does care about the future of your health and well-being.

The Maida Law Firm Maritime Attorneys

  • Our Houston maritime lawyers are well-equipped to handle difficult maritime injury cases that other Houston maritime law firms find too complex.
  • Houston maritime injury law, also known as admiralty law, has a lot of quirks and inconsistencies.
  • It takes an experienced maritime injury attorney to be able to see these inconsistencies, and we find them every case that makes it to our Houston law office. Houston maritime workers are at a disadvantage in some maritime cases.
  • In other maritime injury cases, they have some advantages in their favor. But only a skilled Houston maritime attorney will be able to figure it all out.

So, whether you’re in Houston, Harris County, Pasadena, Baytown or the outlying suburbs, if you’ve been injured at sea and are in need of a Houston maritime injury attorney, The Maida Law Firm is here to help. Contact our Houston maritime lawyers for a free consultation.

Jerry von Sternberg is an icon among Houston maritime attorneys, gaining the distinction through 20 years of maritime law in Houston, Texas and around the Gulf Coast. Jerry von Sternberg has argued maritime injury cases from both sides and has extensive experience, not only in the way Houston maritime law cases proceed, but also in the work that goes on at sea by employees of hundreds of Houston maritime companies.

If you sustained a maritime injury in Houston similar to the above and would like a free consultation with our Houston maritime lawyers, or to find out more about our Houston maritime law services, please call 713-785-9484 or contact us online. Houston is much more than oil and aerospace.

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Under general maritime law, ship owners are required to keep their vessels maintained per a certain standard. As the employer and owner, the vessel holder must preserve the safety and structure of the ship in a way appropriate for all employees on board. Manning, equipping, and supplying the vessel are all key aspects of a ship owner’s duty per maritime law. Subsequently, if an employee of the vessel becomes injured or ill due to a ship’s unseaworthiness, the owner will be held accountable for any loss.

If you are not ready to consider litigation, you should still consult with an experienced Texas maritime attorney to discuss your claim. In many   instances, your company may ask you to sign an agreement or release in   exchange for payment of unearned wages, maintenance, or medical benefits. It is imperative that you have any documents you are given reviewed by a competent Houston maritime injury attorney before signing so you do not waive any of your rights to recovery.   Perhaps the most important reason you need a lawyer is that employers and   insurance companies have teams of lawyers representing them. Their goal   is to dispose of your claim as cheaply as possible. The only way to level   the playing field with your employer or the insurance company is to have   an experienced attorney representing your interests.

As an injured employee, you are new to the process, whereas your employer, his insurer, and their attorneys deal with these cases on a regular basis. It is critical to   the outcome of your claim that you have a team who regularly handles maritime law claims.

Maritime law is one of the oldest sets of rules used to protect offshore workers before the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation  Act, and the Death on the High Seas act. It provides basic provisions that make sure workers are provided with maintenance and cure after an injury.

An experienced maritime lawyer can review your case’s facts and determine your best legal options. They will do this by examining the following:. Your worker status at the time of injury. The timeframe for bringing a claim. All other factors that may have contributed to your injury. Another reason you may benefit from hiring a lawyer is that they know how   to deal with offshore companies. On your own, you may feel like you have no hope. After all, you’re just one person, and your company is likely an established corporation that knows how to handle injury cases. There is no reason why you can’t have aggressive representation as well. You may feel as if any attorney will do, but if you are an offshore worker, you and your company are bound to a specific set of laws called maritime law or admiralty law. You need a lawyer who is well versed in this specific and specialized area of the law if you want to get the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to.

Maintenance and cure describes the cost of living (maintenance) and the medical expenses (cure) that an offshore worker needs after an accident. For decades, maritime law has required vessel owners to ensure that injured workers receive maintenance and cure after sustaining an injury.

Our Texas Maritime Lawyers Can Help: Call 713-785-9484!

At Maida Law Firm, we have seen all too often how maritime injuries occur not only in the Gulf of Mexico but also in our inland waterways and around the globe. For this reason, we remain wholly committed to helping injured workers and their families recover just compensation. We believe what we do is about more than just money.

We work tirelessly to see that our clients recover not only financially, but physically, emotionally, and mentally. Our team is dedicated to helping the individuals who have suffered from life-changing injuries recover the compensation they need for past, current, and future costs. Armed with years of experience, we have a unique perspective   in our approach, and we can work toward helping our clients receive the compensation that they need to pay for the long-term costs. If you believe you have a case that falls under maritime law, contact our firm. During your free consultation, you can get your questions answered   and learn how our experience can benefit you.

“They are great lawyers. They are lawyers with integrity. To me, they mean family. They are my new friends now. It’s always good to have good friend, but a friend like Maida Law Firm…I would want them to be in my corner now and I thank God for them.”.

This depends on what type of job you were performing during your injury and what laws govern it. Some workers will be entitled to compensation under the Jones Act while others might qualify for recovery with the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Defining what workers qualifies for assistance from these laws is not always simple. Speaking with our offshore injury lawyers during a free consultation is the best way to discover your options.

Our Texas Maritime Lawyers Can Help: Call 713-785-9484!

At Maida Law Firm, we have seen all too often how maritime injuries occur not only in the Gulf of Mexico but also in our inland waterways and around the globe. For this reason, we remain wholly committed to helping injured workers and their families recover just compensation. We believe what we do is about more than just money.

We work tirelessly to see that our clients recover not only financially, but physically, emotionally, and mentally. Our team is dedicated to helping the individuals who have suffered from life-changing injuries recover the compensation they need for past, current, and future costs. Armed with years of experience, we have a unique perspective   in our approach, and we can work toward helping our clients receive the compensation that they need to pay for the long-term costs. If you believe you have a case that falls under maritime law, contact our firm. During your free consultation, you can get your questions answered   and learn how our experience can benefit you.

“They are great lawyers. They are lawyers with integrity. To me, they mean family. They are my new friends now. It’s always good to have good friend, but a friend like Maida Law Firm…I would want them to be in my corner now and I thank God for them.”.

A recent study showed that Houston, TX is the No. 2 city in the country for jobs connected to maritime through the moving of cargo between U.S. ports. Only nearby New Orleans has more workers in the maritime industry. When you add up the workers from all Texas ports, it puts Texas as the No. 3 state in the U.S. in cargo transportation between American ports.   The Port of Houston includes over 200 private and public terminals, handling over 8200 seagoing vessels and 215,000 barges every year. Thousands of maritime employees call the Houston area home. It should come as no surprise, then, that there are a multitude of maritime injury cases in Houston.

Maritime workers who are injured at sea do not have many of the recourses that land-based workers do, and often must hire a maritime injury lawyer in Houston to protect their rights and help them recover losses that stem from their maritime injury. Houston Maritime Attorneys.

So, what does maritime mean, anyway? Literally, maritime regards anything connected with the sea. This can be applied to commercial shipping and transporting or military activity. The set of laws governing maritime activity are known as admiralty law, a term used interchangeably with maritime law.   Maritime law does differ from the Law of the Sea, which governs international trade, mineral rights, jurisdiction over coastal waters, treaties and relations between countries. Admiralty cases are more local in concept, involving civil suits, individuals, companies and representatives of those companies.   When to Call a Maritime Lawyer.   The quick answer to the question of when you should call a lawyer after an accident at sea is “as soon as your ship docks in Houston.” If you have cell phone / Wi-Fi access and the privilege of making personal phone calls onboard, call or contact an attorney as soon as you can. If your ship allows workers to make personal calls, the management cannot take action against you if you use your time to call an attorney! A common mistake some workers make is trying to appear to be a “team” player who doesn’t want to stir things up with the threat of a lawsuit. There could be quite a price to pay in order to protect an image that won’t even benefit you in the long run. A lot of Houston maritime workers – or former workers who can’t work anymore – wish they had called an attorney promptly after their accident. Don’t try to determine by yourself if you have a case worth filing, despite all the blogs and websites that try to advise you on a DIY courtroom strategy. Make the smart move and call an attorney. Jerry von Sternberg has won so many admiralty cases that he can generally recognize a winnable case in just the first few minutes of a free consultation.

If The Maida Law Firm accepts your case, the legal fee will come out of the final settlement, and you will have no out-of-pocket expense.   Once you sail out of Houston and leave the national boundaries of the United States, even if you’re a U.S. citizen employed by a U.S. based company on a ship registered in the U.S., some laws designed for your protection no longer apply. Fortunately, other laws move into play that restore some of those protections, but in a different manner.   One such law is the Merchant Marine Act. It is an expansive law that includes regulations governing maritime commerce in U.S. waters between U.S. ports. Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act, known as the Jones Act, requires that commerce between U.S. ports be transported only by American-built vessels. The Merchant Marine Act and the Jones Act are often used synonymously, but in actuality, the Jones Act is a part of the Merchant Marine Act.

oil rig, law firm, houston texas, admiralty law, maritime lawyers, texas lawyers, maritime injury, longshore and harbor workers, personal injury, united states, jones act, maritime law attorneys, houston maritime, houston tx, offshore injury, injury claims, free consultation, houston law, represents clients, harbor workers compensation act

QUESTIONS ABOUT A JUDICIAL ISSUE? ASK OUR LAW EXPERTS.

Ask A “Maida” Lawyer

LET’S WORK TOGETHER

We work as a single united team with our clients from around the world to give our clients the highest quality advice possible.

We Help You Get Medical Treatment You Need Now!