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Offshore Injury

Texas Maritime Lawyer

Kirkpatrick Law is an experienced Texas maritime lawyer. He has won clients large awards. When a maritime accident occurs, you need an attorney with experience. If you are injured at sea, you can be left navigating through a lot of complex laws. It is difficult to understand the laws that can help you get the benefits and compensation you need to recover after a maritime injury.

Eric Kirkpatrick has experience with cases involving broad areas of maritime law. He has experience with the Jones Act claims, Longshoremen and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). If you or a loved one have been injured offshore, you need an experienced maritime lawyer. Contact Kirkpatrick Law today!


What Is The Maritime Law Jurisdiction?

Based on Title 28 of the United States Code many maritime injury cases are held in either state or federal courts. This is a change from the previous jurisdiction that held all cases in federal court. The one exception is cases that involve maritime property, this must be tried in federal court. The key here is that when a case is heard in state court, they must apply maritime law versus state law.

How Does Maritime Law Work?

Maritime Law is the foundation of the legal tenants that govern the sea as well as maritime workers. These are the laws that help maritime lawyers hold negligent parties accountable. This includes the following:

  • Shipowners have a duty to provide reasonable care to their workers and passengers.
  • Seaman and creditors owed wages have the right to have a Maritime Lien against a vessel.
  • Rescuers have the right to claim a maritime salvage award when they recover property that was lost at sea.

When negligence results in the injury of a passenger, that passenger has the right to bring a lawsuit against the shipowner.

Who is considered a seaman?

Often determining maritime law revolves around figuring out who a seaman is based on the Jones Act. This is due to the Jones Act affecting the rights and remedies available to an injured person.

  1. The basis of the Jones Act is that a seaman is a worker that spends a significant portion of time working on a vessel that is “in navigation.” This definition may not seem complicated. However, interpreting the law is complex, and fills treatises.
  2. This law is very complicated. The best option is to talk to a Texas maritime attorney to understand your legal options. However, here are a few basic rules of thumbs.
  3. A “vessel in navigation”: This means a watercraft or any type of machinery that is intended for use in navigable waters. This can be a commercial fishing vessel or offshore rig service boat. There are other vessels in consideration. It is best to talk to a maritime law attorney.
  4. How the worker contributes to the vessel: Not every worker on a vessel in navigation is considered a seaman. To be considered a seaman you must directly contribute to the goal of a vessel in navigation. For example, a ship’s mate who contributes to the vessel’s operations at sea would be more likely to qualify as a Jones Act seaman than a land-based consultant for a shipping company.
  5. A significant amount of time: In order to qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, some courts have imposed a rule of thumb that a worker must spend at least 30% of their time on a specific vessel or a specific fleet of vessels.

If you have been injured in a maritime accident, your best bet is to contact a maritime attorney. An injury at sea law is complicated. You need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the sea of laws.

Maintenance Law: Maintenance & Cure

An offshore, work-related injury is often devastating. Maintenance and cure laws help to ensure the injured party’s medical and rehabilitation bills get paid. Additionally, basic day-to-day living expenses coulee be received during the recuperation period.
If you have an offshore injury and are in need of a maritime injury lawyer in Houston contact Kirkpatrick Law.

The Jones Act

The Jones Act attained its name after its sponsor Senator Wesley R. Jones. It was created as part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

This Act is a federal law that gives seamen that were injured on a vessel the right to sue their employer for negligence damages. Under the Jones Act, a maritime employer has a duty to provide the seaman with a reasonably safe place to work. The employer must use ordinary care to maintain and keep the vessel on which the seaman works in a safe condition.

The Jones Act imposes strict requirements on employers. Almost any unsafe condition on a ship can lead to Jones Act liability. An employer may be held liable under the Jones Act for such unsafe conditions as:

  • Oil or grease on a deck
  • maintained equipment
  • Failure to give seamen the proper equipment to allow them to do their work
  • A failure to adequately train their crew
  • Failure to require the crew to abide by safe work methods

Injured at sea? Contact A Maritime Lawyer.

If you have been injured at sea you need experienced representation. There are several maritime laws. Understanding them and how they apply can be complicated. Kirkpatrick law has tried many maritime cases. We understand the nuances and can help you understand your legal options. Call us today at (713) 893-0305 or request a free consultation online!