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HOUSTON MARITIME INJURY LAWYER - Houston Offshore Injury Lawyer

Houston Offshore Injury Lawyer

Offshore injuries are both common and devastating. When you or a loved one has been injured offshore, it’s important for you to know what your rights are and what you are entitled to receive as compensation. When you work with Reich & Binstock, you can rest assured that you’ll be working with a maritime injury lawyer with over 30 years of experience. That automatically ensures that you’ll have a leg up in court, as almost nothing is more important than experience in a courtroom.

HOUSTON MARITIME INJURY LAWYER - Houston Offshore Injury Lawyer

When an offshore injury has occurred, it is important to understand what types of compensation you may be entitled to. Offshore injuries are governed by complex and complicated state and federal laws which govern the type of compensation you may receive. 

What is a Maritime Injury?

In order to better understand maritime injuries and the laws surrounding them, we’ll first cover the Jones Act. This statute outlines and regulates a majority of U.S. domestic shipping.

Basically, it requires goods that are shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on vessels which are built, owned, and operated by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The Jones Act is a small, yet very important section of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act. Importantly, the Jones Act not only outlines maritime commerce regulations, but it also provides sailors and maritime workers with certain protections. These protections include the ability to seek damages for injuries from crews, captains, or ship owners.

Catastrophic Maritime Injuries in Texas

Due to the nature of maritime jobs, the possibility for catastrophic injuries is very high. In fact, the range and type of possible injuries for seamen is very broad. Below, we list some of the most common maritime injuries we see at Reich & Binstock in Houston:

  1. Neck or back strains from lifting heavy objects and equipment
  2. Toxic chemical exposure from cargo, solvents, or lead paint
  3. Falling object/equipment head injuries
  4. Paralysis or amputation due to malfunctioning equipment
  5. Slip and fall injuries on poorly-lit or wet decks
  6. Diver injuries such as decompression
  7. Burns or electrocutions
  8. Medical malpractice harm from a ship’s medical crew treating injured workers
  9. Drowning wrongful deaths due to poor rescue techniques

How to File a Maritime Injury Claim

After sustaining an offshore injury, it is important to follow certain steps. These steps will ensure that you receive adequate medical attention and that your case has the best chance of success. Below, we outline what your steps should be following a maritime injury:

  1. Report your accident and injuries. Let your employer know what happened, and recount the story exactly how it happened. Reporting the injury as soon as possible makes it extremely difficult to argue that you were injured somewhere other than your workplace.
  2. Fill out the forms. As with most workplace accidents, you’ll need to fill out some paperwork. Make sure all accounts of the accident are accurate, and sign the form. If the form requires a supervisor’s signature, get that as well.
  3. Seek medical attention. As soon as you detect an injury, get medical help. Returning to work with an injury only delays your case. If your injury hinders your ability to work in any way, do not return to work.
  4. Consult an independent physician. Instead of going to the doctor your employer suggests, seek medical advice from one of your choosing. Sometimes, physicians associated with certain employers won’t want to accurately assess your injuries.
  5. Follow medical advice. Whatever advice your doctor gives you for your recovery, follow it closely. Ignoring medical advice for your injuries could impact your case negatively.
  6. Hire a maritime injury lawyer. Because these cases are often extremely complicated, it’s best to get with an experienced attorney sooner rather than later. They will have handled these cases before, and they’ll know the process. This way, you can focus on recovery while your legal team focuses on the case.

What is the Time Frame to Sue Your Job for Maritime Injuries Under the Jones Act?

Generally, the statute of limitations for a Jones Act claim is three years from the date of your injury. Understanding this statute of limitations is important in ensuring that you file your claim on time. Should you attempt to file a claim after the deadline passes, your claim will be denied. However, certain circumstances exist in which a person may file a claim after the deadline. The main example occurs when victims are unaware that they sustained injuries. In these cases, the statute of limitations begins when you discover the injuries.

How Do I Find a Maritime Injury Lawyer in Texas?

There are many ways in which people find the right maritime injury lawyer for their case. Sometimes, people like referrals from friends and family. Other times, they like to do their own independent research. Below, we list the necessary steps to finding the right offshore injury lawyer for your case:

  1. Determine your criteria. Generally, you’ll want someone with experience in the realm of maritime law. You’ll also want someone who is licensed in your state, as well as accessible to you. Figure out your other must-haves and jot them down.
  2. Make a list. Once you find a few lawyers or law offices that look good, put them on a list. Read through their reviews, visit their websites, and find out more about them.
  3. Research your top picks. Check with their state bar association for certifications. Read biographies on their website, and ask around for referrals.
  4. Call their office. Schedule a meeting with them if you feel they may be a good fit for your case.
  5. Meet with them. Jot down some interview questions and take appropriate documents with you to the meeting. Get to know the attorney, and make a decision on who you think is right for your case.
  6. Sign the contract. Once you make your decision, let your chosen attorney get to work. A good attorney will take the weight of the case off your shoulders so that you can focus on recovery.

How Long Does an Offshore Injury Lawsuit Take?

Unfortunately, because every case is different in some way, there is no way to know exactly how long your case will take. However, the complexity of your case, as well as the severity of your injuries, both greatly affect the timeframe. Major accidents with severe injuries might take years to settle. Below, we give a brief outline of the process involved with personal injury cases:

  1. First, always receive medical treatment. Not only is this the best thing for your health, but it also helps your case by giving validity to your injuries.
  2. Then, get with your maritime injury lawyer to prepare for the case.
  3. Your attorney will then begin the investigation into your case. This step alone sometimes takes months. Remember to be patient and help your lawyer acquire the necessary documents.
  4. Make demands and participate in negotiations. Some claims settle before ever reaching a suit. In most cases, the demands phase will not begin until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This helps to determine how much your medical expenses are worth for the demands.
  5. If no settlement is reached, you’ll file the suit. Then, you and your lawyer participate in discovery, mediation, and negotiation with the other side.
  6. Lastly, the trial happens. These trials sometimes last days, weeks, or even months. Trust in your lawyer and follow their advice as best you can.

What Can I Collect From a Maritime Injury Claim?

Maritime injury claims come with the possibility of multiple different types of compensation. A few of these can include:

  • Current and future lost wages
  • Current and future medical bills
  • Health complications
  • Mental anguish
  • Long-term care costs
  • Disfigurement or disability
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Counseling or therapy
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Living expenses
  • Wrongful death compensation

How Long Can You Stay Out With An Injury Under Maritime Law?

Under Maintenance and Cure provisions, you receive compensation and stay out until you reach the point of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI occurs when further medical care no longer improves your condition. Basically, your benefits and time off stop at this point. The same three-year statute of limitations applies to this instance as it does with filing your claim.

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