Your Maritime Lawyer in Houston
A maritime lawyer in Houston provides legal representation to maritime workers. Because when maritime accidents do occur, victims and their families can find themselves navigating a sea of complex laws, wondering which ones can help them obtain the benefits and compensation they need to recover and rebuild following a maritime injury.
Mithoff Law’s admiralty and maritime attorneys work closely with a team of subject matter experts to investigate and pursue claims for people who have been injured offshore, or in maritime workplaces, such as ports and drydocks. These cases often involve unique jurisdictional issues, and a complex framework of regulations and laws.
Mithoff Law has decades of experience successfully handling admiralty and maritime cases. Our attorneys have successfully tried or settled cases involving broad areas of maritime law, such as Jones Act claims, Section 905(b) claims under the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA), claims brought under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), and state law claims for offshore platform or rig injuries pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).
If you or a loved one have been injured on an offshore worksite, you need a maritime lawyer in Houston to help you assess your situation and determine a course of action. Not sure where to start? Contact a Mithoff Law maritime lawyer in Houston at 713-654-1122 and discuss your situation with a trial-tested attorney.
“Mithoff, a Houston personal injury lawyer, is no stranger to winning big payoffs for large groups of people. He negotiated a $2.3 billion settlement with the tobacco industry for Harris and other counties, and he won $80 million for residents of a nursing home who were killed in a 2005 bus explosion while fleeing Hurricane Rita.”
– Houston Chronicle, November 22, 2017
By choosing Mithoff Law, clients can rest assured that they’re working with one of the premier personal injury law firms in the country. Recipient of several prestigious awards, founder Richard Mithoff has been twice designated a Forbes Top 10 Trial Lawyer in the United States. With his almost 50 years of experience to his name, Mithoff and his team — all highly acclaimed in their own right — have won several high profile legal cases, including:
Confidential Settlement for Drillship Company Claiming $265 Million in Increased Financing Costs Due to Oil Spill
A confidential settlement was obtained for a drillship company claiming it incurred $265 million in increased financing costs for its deep-water drilling rig as a result of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Confidential Settlement for Crane Operator Severely Injured in Drydock Crane Collapse
A confidential settlement was obtained for a crane operator who sustained serious, permanent, and disabling injuries when the crane he was operating broke away from its pedestal and collapsed, while he was working at a drydock facility in Galveston.
Confidential Settlement for Man Whose Leg Was Amputated in Workplace Accident at Port of Houston
A confidential settlement was obtained for a man who suffered catastrophic injury when he was run over by a tow motor while working at one of the docks at the Port of Houston. The man’s leg had to be amputated as a result of his injuries.
What is maritime law?
General maritime law is a body of law developed by the courts that establishes common law solutions for injuries sustained at sea. Specifically, maritime law protects seamen who work on marine vessels (either civilian or military) and may sometimes apply other workers who work in close proximity to bodies of water including oil rig workers, longshoremen, repairmen, and other workers.
There are a number of statutes that also regulate maritime injury claims, including the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
Who is considered a seaman?
Determining how maritime law may apply to a claim often turns upon whether an injured person is considered a “Jones Act seaman.” Status as a Jones Act seaman can affect the rights and remedies available to an injured person.
In general terms, a Jones Act seaman is a worker who spends a significant portion of their time contributing to the work of a vessel that is “in navigation.” This definition may not seem complicated, but the body of law interpreting that basic description is complex, and fills treatises.
A full explanation cannot be provided here, but some basic rules of thumb are provided below for general informational purposes. The experienced Admiralty & Maritime attorneys at Mithoff Law have decades of experience navigating the complex framework of rules in this area.
- The “vessel in navigation”: A “vessel in navigation” generally means a watercraft or any type of machinery that is intended for use in navigable waters as a means of transportation. A commercial fishing vessel or offshore rig service boat would be common examples that could fit the definition. An offshore fixed spar platform in all likelihood would not be considered a vessel in navigation.
- How the worker contributes to the vessel: Not every worker on a vessel in navigation is necessarily considered a seaman. In order to meet the necessary criteria, a worker must generally directly contribute to the goal of a vessel in navigation. For example, a ship’s mate who regularly 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, who infrequently boarded company vessels to familiarize himself with their operations.
- 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.
Ultimately, it’s important to consult with an experienced maritime attorney to help determine whether or not you are considered a seaman at the time of injury, and whether or not the Jones Act applies to your claim.
Injured at sea? Contact a Mithoff Law maritime lawyer in Houston today.
Accident victims and their loved ones should seek representation from a skilled admiralty and maritime lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at Mithoff Law have decades of experience in admiralty and maritime law, and can assist with your claim.
Call us today at 713-654-1122 and meet with one of Mithoff Law’s admiralty and maritime attorneys to learn about your options.