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Missouri City Maritime Injury Lawyer

When you have been hurt in a maritime accident, you need a lawyer familiar with the applicable laws. For personal injuries that occur offshore, federal laws apply. Those laws can mean greater protections for injured workers but also add a layer of complexity to lawsuits.

Furthermore, working on an offshore vessel or rig is especially dangerous. The risk of fires, explosions, electrocution, and other severe incidents is much higher than on land. Federal laws impose strict safety standards to help mitigate that risk. If someone else’s negligence means they failed to comply with those standards, a well-practiced work accident attorney could show how you are entitled to recover. A Missouri City maritime injury lawyer could investigate a case and advise you on the best course of action.

The Jones Act

The Jones Act — also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 — 46 U.S.C. §§ 50101 et seq., provides the most comprehensive coverage for maritime workers. Seamen are workers on vessels in navigable waters who spend at least 30 percent of their time on board and whose work contributes to the vessel’s function. The Jones Act does not apply to dockworkers or passengers.

While the distinction may seem clear-cut, it can be more challenging to determine in practice. For example, while offshore rig workers are in navigable waters, they are not on vessels. Because fixed platforms are attached to the ocean floor, they are stationary — not navigable and not vessels. Thus, this law does not apply to events on the offshore rig.

However, the Jones Act may still protect rig workers. Transporting workers to and from oil rigs can be risky, and if an injury occurs during transport, then the Act may cover it. Furthermore, workers may be on vessels near the platform, triggering coverage. Maritime injury lawyers in Missouri City assess a case to determine whether this particular law applies.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), 33 U.S.C. §§ 901 et seq, protects maritime workers who do not spend most of their time on vessels in navigable waters. The LHWCA protects longshoremen, harbor workers, and dockworkers. Extensions to the LHWCA cover offshore oil rig workers and some workers on U.S. military installations.

This is a federal worker’s comp program that compensates covered employees if they have an occupational injury or illness. Compensation includes medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages. Unlike state workers’ comp programs, the LHWCA may apply to contractors. A maritime injury lawyer in Missouri City can provide guidance on whether a particular worker has a claim under this law.

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 43 U.S.C. §§ 1331 et seq., covers land connected under the seafloor to the United States. It expands federal law to those areas, including oil and gas rigs.

Regarding personal injury compensation for workers on offshore rigs, the OCSLA provides two critical protections. First, it extends the benefits of the LHWCA to offshore workers who die or are injured on a platform — as long as the platform is on the outer continental shelf. Second, it allows the application of laws from the adjacent state — as long as the laws are consistent with federal laws. For offshore workers along the Texas coastline, that can mean applying parts of the state’s personal injury law.

A maritime injury lawyer in Missouri City will take a holistic view of a case, determining which laws protect a person and how to file claims under those laws.

Schedule a Consultation With a Missouri City Maritime Injury Attorney

Because maritime injuries are legally complex, it is easy to be confused about your options. The best way to get the necessary information is to schedule a consultation with a Missouri City maritime injury lawyer. We could assess your case and explain your potential remedies.

You may be able to file federal and state workers’ compensation claims or a negligence lawsuit against your employer or any third parties who contributed to the accident. You should schedule the consultation even if you believe the statute of limitations has expired since federal laws may have different limitation periods than state laws.

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