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Texas Maritime Lawyer for Offshore Injuries
Offshore accidents are different than other accidents. State law governs most personal injury accidents. However, maritime law governs offshore accidents. If you have a maritime claim, you need an attorney who knows maritime law.
Trusted Lawyer For Catastrophic Offshore Accidents
A Texas Maritime Lawyer for Offshore Injuries specializes in the area of law known as maritime or admiralty law. This legal domain governs activities and disputes that occur on navigable waters, including oceans, gulfs, and other large bodies of water. Given Texas’ extensive coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, maritime lawyers in the state often handle cases involving offshore injuries, oil rig accidents, and other incidents that occur at sea or on other navigable waters. Here’s a detailed look at what these lawyers do:
- Maritime Law Expertise:
- Maritime law is a distinct body of law with its own set of rules and principles. A maritime lawyer has specialized knowledge of these rules, as well as international treaties and conventions that may apply to offshore incidents.
- Representation of Offshore Workers:
- These lawyers often represent workers injured on offshore platforms, oil rigs, commercial fishing vessels, cargo ships, and other sea vessels. Injuries in such environments can be severe, given the hazardous nature of offshore work.
- Jones Act Claims:
- One of the primary laws that maritime lawyers deal with is the Jones Act. This federal statute allows seamen who are injured on the job to sue their employers for personal injury damages, something that’s not typically possible under standard workers’ compensation laws.
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act:
- For workers who aren’t considered “seamen” under the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides compensation for injuries. Maritime lawyers can help injured workers navigate this complex act and secure the benefits they’re entitled to.
- Oil Rig Accidents:
- Given the prominence of the oil industry in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, maritime lawyers in the state often handle cases involving accidents on oil rigs and platforms. These can include explosions, equipment malfunctions, and other hazardous incidents.
- Ship Collisions and Groundings:
- Maritime lawyers also deal with cases involving ship collisions, groundings, and other navigational errors that can lead to injuries or environmental damage.
- Legal Strategy and Litigation:
- These attorneys can advise injured workers on the best legal strategy, whether it’s pursuing a claim under the Jones Act, filing a lawsuit against a negligent third party, or seeking compensation under other applicable laws.
- Compensation and Damages:
- Maritime lawyers work to secure compensation for their clients, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the injury.
- Navigating Complex Jurisdictions:
- Given the international nature of maritime activities, these lawyers often deal with complex jurisdictional issues. An incident might involve laws from multiple countries, international treaties, and various federal and state statutes.
In essence, a Texas Maritime Lawyer for Offshore Injuries is a legal advocate for those injured at sea or in related offshore activities. Their specialized knowledge ensures that injured workers’ rights are protected and that they receive the compensation they deserve. If someone is injured offshore or in a maritime setting, consulting with such an attorney is crucial to understand their rights and legal options.
What Is Maritime Law?
Maritime law is also known as admiralty law. It is a body of laws governing private maritime business. Maritime means on the open water.
Some examples of things covered by maritime law include
- Oil rigs
The United States has its own Maritime Law. International rules also govern the use of the oceans and seas. Those laws are known as the Law of the Sea.
For most nations, including the U.S., maritime law is separate from other national laws. They have different rules and different courts. International law may impact some of these rules.
The U.S. participates in treaties and conventions through the United Nations and the International Maritime Organization. Those treaties and conventions influence legal rights.
What Does Maritime Law Cover?
Maritime law covers private nautical matters. It includes civil disputes and criminal offenses. Personal injury claims are civil disputes. Injuries that occur offshore, on rigs, and ships are maritime. It covers both insurance claims and civil matters between shipowners and seamen. It also covers platform and oil rig workers.
What Is the Jones Act?
The Jones Act is a critical maritime law. Most lawsuits for personal injuries that occur offshore use the Jones Act. It provides seamen and sailors the right to sue employers for compensation for injuries at sea.
Not all injuries at sea are on ships. The Jones Act also covers injuries on
We call those offshore injuries.
What Is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act?
Other laws impact your injury law claim. One is the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). The OCSLA defined the outer continental shelf (OCA). The OCA is all submerged lands seaward of state coastal waters under U.S. jurisdiction. Under the OCSLA, the Secretary of the Interior has authority over those lands.
The OSCLA is essential for personal injury claimants. It helped fill maritime law gaps. Other aspects of maritime law covered seamen or longshoremen. In other words, they focused on ships and boats. The OSCLA protects workers on oil rigs and platforms.
Is Working Offshore Dangerous?
Working offshore can be very dangerous.
The jobs often involve
- Heavy equipment
- Long working hours
- Hazardous chemicals
- Dealing with bad weather
These working conditions can lead to a high risk of
Working offshore is 7 times as deadly as working on the land. The high pay for offshore work is due, in part, to the risks.
Are Offshore Accidents Avoidable?
Sometimes. Many offshore accidents happen because of negligence.
Companies can take steps to improve safety. They can
- Improve transportation to and from offshore platforms and rigs
- Provide adequate safety training
- Ensure compliance with safety rules
- Properly maintain equipment
- Provide the proper safety equipment
- Enforce a safe shift length
- Evacuate workers before bad weather events
When companies fail to take reasonable safety precautions, they are negligent.
What Are Common Causes of Injuries for Offshore Workers?
Almost every part of offshore work is dangerous. The biggest dangers come from
- Equipment and machinery
- Toxic chemicals
- Environmental damage
Transportation To The Job-site
The riskiest part of offshore work is transportation. Workers have to get back and forth to the rigs and platforms. They move workers by helicopter, boat, or ship. It often occurs in bad weather or other poor conditions.
The conditions can lead to accidents that lead to injuries and deaths. Up to 40% of offshore injuries occur during transportation.
Offshore Equipment and Machinery
Equipment and machinery are risky and cause the second most injuries and fatalities. They may malfunction. They are also inherently dangerous. Loss of the rig’s engine power also contributes to accidents.
At Sea Fires
Fire is a grave risk at sea. Ships and rigs are often difficult to escape. A fire can make getting to lifeboats and other rescue tools tricky. Even if people escape the fire, where do they go? They can jump into the water but may not be able to survive. Plus, fire can cause burns and smoke inhalation.
It is no wonder that fires and explosions are among the leading causes of offshore fatalities.
Electrocution is a considerable risk. Water is a highly conductive medium. Combine the water with electricity, and things get deadly. Any exposed wiring can cause electrocution. The salt in the water corrodes material, which ups the odds of exposure.
One common cause of electrocution at sea is the extension cord. If a cord is defective or misused, it is dangerous. At sea, a faulty extension cord can mean death or injury.
Toxic Chemicals Offshore
Offshore work also leads to exposure to toxic chemicals. Even oil and natural gas can be toxic. Toxins can cause immediate harm. Long-term exposure can also lead to diseases.
Offshore Environmental Disasters
When you hear about an offshore accident in the news, it is often environmental. While these catastrophes are devastating, the news may omit the human toll. People can die or suffer injuries during these incidents.
How do these disasters happen? They are often the result of drilling accidents. Wrecks and bad weather can also cause them.
What Types of Injuries Happen Offshore?
People working offshore can experience the same injuries that people on land experience. For example, they can fall and get head injuries. However, they are also at higher risk for injuries that rarely occur onshore, like hypothermia.
Some common injuries include
- Repetitive use
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord
- Falls overboard
- Lost limbs
- Loss of hearing
- Respiratory illnesses
- Smoke inhalation
- Broken bones
These injuries can be mild to severe. Some can even result in death, providing a basis for a wrongful death suit for survivors.
Famous Offshore Accidents
While minor offshore accidents occur almost daily, we rarely hear about them. An event that makes the news is often an environmental disaster.
Most people have heard of Deepwater Horizon. It was a rig in the Gulf of Mexico. When it exploded, it injured 16 and killed 11. Their bodies were never recovered. It led to a huge oil spill. People did not hear about it because of injuries to workers. Instead, they heard about it because it was the worst environmental disaster in history.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Offshore Injury Case?
At The Salazar Law Firm, we think you do.
Some cases are straightforward. Maritime claims rarely are. Most people do not understand maritime laws. We can investigate your accident to determine whether someone’s negligence was responsible for your injuries.
Negligence can be obvious but often is not. We will help you establish the proof you need to win your claim.
Ready to find out more? Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
How Much Does An Offshore Injury Lawyer Cost?
The cost of hiring an offshore injury lawyer, like many personal injury attorneys, is typically based on a contingency fee arrangement. Here’s a breakdown of what this means and other potential costs associated with hiring such a lawyer:
- Contingency Fee Basis:
- Most offshore injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney’s fees are contingent upon them securing compensation for their client. If the lawyer wins the case or secures a settlement, they will take a predetermined percentage of the awarded amount as their fee. If they do not win, the client typically owes nothing in attorney’s fees.
- Percentage of Recovery:
- The specific percentage taken as a contingency fee can vary, but it’s commonly between 25% to 40% of the total recovery. The exact percentage might depend on the complexity of the case, the stage at which the case is resolved (e.g., pre-trial settlement vs. post-trial verdict), and other factors.
- Costs and Expenses:
- Apart from attorney’s fees, there are other costs associated with litigating a case, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, costs for obtaining medical records, deposition costs, and more. Some lawyers might cover these costs upfront and then deduct them from the final settlement or award. It’s essential to clarify with the attorney how these costs will be handled.
- No Recovery, No Fee:
- Given the contingency fee structure, many offshore injury lawyers advertise a “No Recovery, No Fee” policy. This means that if the lawyer doesn’t secure compensation for the client, the client doesn’t owe any attorney’s fees. However, it’s essential to understand whether you might still be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses or costs.
- Consultation Fees:
- Many offshore injury lawyers offer free initial consultations. This allows potential clients to discuss their case, understand their legal options, and get a sense of the lawyer’s expertise without any financial commitment.
- Contractual Agreement:
- Before hiring an offshore injury lawyer, clients will typically sign a fee agreement or contract. This document will outline the specifics of the fee structure, what percentage the lawyer will take if the case is successful, how costs and expenses are handled, and other essential details.
- Benefits of Contingency Fees:
- One of the primary benefits of the contingency fee structure is that it allows individuals, regardless of their financial situation, to seek legal representation. Since they don’t have to pay upfront fees, injured parties can pursue justice and compensation without the burden of hefty legal bills.
In conclusion, while the exact cost of hiring an offshore injury lawyer can vary based on several factors, the contingency fee structure provides a risk-reduced way for injured individuals to seek legal representation. It’s always advisable to discuss fees, costs, and any other financial concerns upfront with the attorney to ensure clarity and avoid any surprises later on.