WORKING AT SEA – IT’S A DIFFERENT WORLD OUT THERE
There are literally hundreds of maritime companies in Houston, and even though they claim to appreciate their employees and the sacrifices they make, you’re only one fall on a slippery deck or one tumbling pallet of cargo in heavy seas from discovering how much or how little they truly do care.
If you are injured at sea, don’t assume your employer will compensate you fairly and make sure your medical bills are covered. Any one of a host of Houston maritime lawyers will quickly point out that the ball game changes drastically when an injury occurs. Not only that, but the rules are different for maritime employees and land-based employees. Defendants in maritime law cases try to hide behind the nuances of maritime law, hoping the injured party is not up to speed on them.
For instance, Workman’s Comp does not apply to injuries suffered while at sea. But thanks to the federal Jones Act, maritime workers have the ability to sue their employers for compensation, and employers are held accountable to provide reasonably safe working conditions and to maintain their vessels so that they are safe and seaworthy.
MARITIME LAW & ADMIRALTY LAW ARE THE SAME THING
So, what does maritime mean, anyway? Literally, maritime regards anything connected with the sea. This can be applied to commercial shipping and transporting or military activity. The set of laws governing maritime activity are known as admiralty law, a term used interchangeably with maritime law.
Maritime law does differ from the Law of the Sea, which governs international trade, mineral rights, jurisdiction over coastal waters, treaties and relations between countries. Admiralty cases are more local in concept, involving civil suits, individuals, companies and representatives of those companies.
WHEN TO CALL A MARITIME LAWYER
The quick answer to the question of when you should call a lawyer after an accident at sea is “as soon as your ship docks in Houston.” If you have cell phone / Wi-Fi access and the privilege of making personal phone calls onboard, call or contact an attorney as soon as you can. If your ship allows workers to make personal calls, the management cannot take action against you if you use your time to call an attorney!
A common mistake some workers make is trying to appear to be a “team” player who doesn’t want to stir things up with the threat of a lawsuit. There could be quite a price to pay in order to protect an image that won’t even benefit you in the long run. A lot of Houston maritime workers – or former workers who can’t work anymore – wish they had called an attorney promptly after their accident.
Don’t try to determine by yourself if you have a case worth filing, despite all the blogs and websites that try to advise you on a DIY courtroom strategy. Make the smart move and call an attorney. Patrick Daniel has won so many admiralty cases that he can generally recognize a winnable case in just the first few minutes of a FREE consultation. If Patrick Daniel Law accepts your case, the legal fee will come out of the final settlement, and you will have no out-of-pocket expense.