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Texas Maritime and Offshore Injury Lawyers

Legal Help for Victims of Maritime and Offshore Accidents

Maritime accidents occur during activities on or relating to the sea. Both work-related accidents and recreational accidents can occur. Maritime accidents involve watercraft of all shapes and types, from small boats to massive cruise ships.

If you have been injured at sea, call the experienced maritime lawyers at Thomas J. Henry Law.

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Accidents and Injuries on the Water and at Sea

Throughout the Gulf of Mexico, the coastal regions of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and on inland waters, oil and gas industry employees, seamen, fishermen, drillers, dockworkers, and recreational water-goers are exposed to dangerous conditions on the high seas.

Although the many hazards of working or enjoying recreational activities at sea are well known, no one can truly be prepared for a fatal accident to happen to a family member or friend.

Maritime incidents which can lead to injury, property damage, and death include:

  • Cruise ship accidents
  • Offshore oil rig accidents
  • Marine crane accidents
  • Commercial fishing boat accidents
  • Tanker, cargo ship, and barge accidents
  • Shipyard accidents

Important Laws Pertaining to Maritime Accidents

Many maritime injury claims are governed by the Jones Act or General Maritime Law also known as Admiralty Law. Maritime law is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. It deals with matters including marine commerce, marine navigation, shipping, sailors, and the transportation of passengers and goods by sea. It also covers many commercial activities, even land-based, if they are maritime in character.

Filing a Jones Act Claim

Seamen and maritime workers have special rights under federal law, including the ability to sue an employer or the ship’s owner for negligence under the Jones Act. This operative provision is found at 46 U.S.C § 688 (a) and provides that: “Any sailor who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right to trial by jury, and in such action, all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply…”

With regard to the Jones Act, keep these important notes in mind:

  • Any worker who spends less than 30% of his time in the service of a vessel on navigable waters is presumed not to be a seaman under the Jones Act.
  • An action under the Act may be brought either in a U.S. federal court or in a state court.
  • The seaman/plaintiff is entitled to a jury trial, a right which is not afforded in maritime law absent a statute authorizing it.

Under the Jones Act, the burden of proof is much lower, meaning victims whose injuries were at all caused by the negligence of the employer may be entitled to compensation. Injured victims are entitled to collect damages just like any other personal injury case, including medical costs, lost wages, future earnings, and pain and suffering.

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Your Maritime and Offshore Accident Questions Answered

We have straight answers to difficult questions to help you make critical decisions, navigate legal process and help you get justice.

Following a maritime accident, there are always more questions than answers. At Thomas J. Henry, we’re here to answer any questions you have about your injury case.

There are a multitude of different types of expert witnesses, from doctors to accident reconstructionists, all playing a unique role in personal injury litigation. However, most expert witnesses fall into two categories: consulting expert and testifying expert.

Consulting experts, help explain and clarify facts so that your attorney can better understand a situation. In a trucking accident, a consulting expert may be called to provide professional insight on the intricacies of trucking regulations, which can vary by state.

While a consulting expert typically does not testify in open court, the information they provide can play a vital role in supporting your trucking accident claim.

A testifying expert is someone who will deliver testimony in the courtroom. This requires that they not only posses special expertise, but also an ability to deliver complicated information in a manner that is easily understood.

Some expert witnesses will fill both of these duties during the course of a lawsuit, consulting with your attorney privately as the facts of your case are gathered and then presenting any relevant information to the judge or jury.

An expert witness, also known as a judicial expert, is an additional witness who has expertise and specialized knowledge in a particular subject that is beyond what an average person may have.

Expert witnesses can be called upon to offer their expert opinion to the court or to refute inaccurate testimony given by the defense. Because of their expertise and high ethical standards, testimony from an expert witness can go a long way in proving your trucking injury claim.

In Texas, pain and suffering is a type of damage available in a personal injury claim, such as in an auto accident case. Pain and suffering addresses the physical and mental trauma that a person experienced in an accident, in the aftermath of the accident, and during any medical procedures that were needed as a result. In many auto accident cases, establishing significant pain and suffering is one of the most important pieces of a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, cause tremendous pain and suffering. Auto accidents oftentimes leave victims with severe, long-lasting and debilitating physical injuries that can also lead to mental and emotional injuries. In these cases, pain and suffering (physically and mentally) is often easy to recognize. However, the amount awarded for pain and suffering is ultimately left up to a jury’s decision.

In order to successfully show the extent of an injured victim’s pain and suffering, it is imperative to have thorough and exhaustive documentation of medical treatments and therapies from physicians, surgeons, nurses, and psychologists. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you with this process and also help with presenting your case clearly and convincingly before a jury.

During your initial meeting with an injury attorney, you will be asked many questions regarding the accident and the injuries you sustained. You should also be prepared to ask the attorney questions of your own. It can be helpful to create a list of questions you have for the attorney prior to the meeting so you don’t forget anything when you get there.

Important questions to ask your prospective accident attorney include:

  • How long have you been practicing law in this practice area?
  • What is your track record of succeeding in these cases?
  • Do you have trial experience?
  • How much will it cost to hire you?

One of the most important questions to ask your lawyer is how they charge for services and if a consultation costs you anything upfront. Our firm offers free case reviews and charges on a contingency basis.

Before your meeting, gather all of the evidence you collected from the accident and anything that may be related to your injuries, such as:

  • Photographs of the accident scene, damage to your car and other vehicles involved, your injuries, or anything else pertaining to the incident
  • Copy of a police report or accident report
  • List of names, phone numbers, or addresses of witnesses you spoke with at the scene
  • Medical records

If you received medical attention after your accident, bring any records or documents showing the procedures or treatment you had completed, the names and contact information of the doctors or medical professionals you saw, what future treatment may be recommended, and the costs associated with your care. In addition, bring medical and auto insurance information with you, if you have them.

Other documents that you may have that you should bring to your first meeting with a lawyer include:

  • Letters or emails you received from your insurer or the other driver’s insurer
  • Name and phone number of the at-fault driver from the accident (and their insurance company’s information)
  • Contact information of any insurance company or claims adjusters that you have spoken with
  • Receipts of anything you purchased to remedy an injury or repair due to the accident

In general, bring any evidence, documents, or information related to your injuries and the accident with you to your initial consultation with your attorney. The more information you bring, the quicker and easier your lawyer can evaluate your case and provide you with the next steps to take. To keep the documents organized and to avoid losing anything, keep all of these in an envelope or folder that you can then bring with you to the law office (or wherever you meet your attorney).

If an insurance company offers you a check right away, do not sign it. When an insurance company seems overly eager to settle a claim, it is because they are trying to limit their liability or they are trying to beat out future damages that have yet to be identified. As such, many checks will include release language benefiting the insurer.

Our Practice Areas

Representing injured victims from across the United States.

No matter the injury or the accident, if you or a loved one were harmed due to the negligence of an individual or company, Thomas J. Henry is here to assist you.

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