Maritime occupations are considered some of the most dangerous jobs across all industries. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) defines maritime industry occupations as any work done supporting the construction, repair, or scrapping of vessels, as well as the movement of cargo and other materials. The nature of the…
Those who work offshore are afforded protection under both general maritime law and a specific body of federal admiralty laws. The maritime industry is dangerous, and as such the law has recognized these perils in its provision of rights for offshore workers and their families. While all workplaces should be safe for those who work there, maritime law requires vessel owners and operators to comply with very specific rules and regulations.
One of the most commonly referenced federal maritime laws it the Jones Act. Seamen seeking benefits this Act must prove their injuries resulted from another party’s negligence and that the injuries occurred on the job; they are also governed by a three-year statute of limitations within which they must file their claims for damages. Employers are typically liable for damages in the event of an injury, and the burden of proof is much lower than in typical personal injury cases. Under maritime law, seamen only need to prove their employer and/or other responsible parties played a role, no matter how small, in causing the accident that hurt them. Damages under the Jones Act include lost wages, medical expenses, pain, suffering, disfigurement (if applicable), loss of earning capacity, and more.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) is another important maritime law that provides financial compensation for workers injured while working on or near navigable waters – including on adjoining land like docks and piers. The statute of limitations in these cases is much shorter, with only one year from the date of the incident to file a claim. Benefits will be paid for two years from the date your employer begins paying them. Even if your employer is paying you benefits, you should still file a formal claim within one year of your injury to make it clear you are filing for benefits under LHWCA.
If the unthinkable happens and an offshore worker is killed at sea, the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) applies. Enacted by Congress in 1920, DOHSA applies to any maritime accident that happens more than three miles away from U.S. shores and territories when the death of a maritime worker was caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default. A claim can only be filed by a spouse, child, dependent relatives, or their representatives. The statute of limitations for death claims is three years from the date of death.
Texas Maritime and Offshore Accidents Law
Maritime law is quite different than other personal injury and workplace injury law, making it important to seek out an experienced maritime injury lawyer if you’ve been hurt on the job while working offshore and/or around navigable waters. If you’ve been injured at work, your employer or another party may be financially and legally responsible for the losses you suffered. Our Gulf Coast maritime injury lawyers are prepared to move quickly and investigate your claims. We have handled claims involving jack-up rigs, oil rigs, barges, tugboats, platforms, fishing boats, and many other types of offshore vessels. We have extensive trial experience seeking justice on behalf of injured offshore workers and the families of those killed at sea, so contact the attorneys of Dax F. Garza, P.C. for more information on how we can help.