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Houston Mooring Accident Lawyer

If you’ve suffered a mooring line injury, it’s vital to consult with an experienced, successful lawyer who understands maritime laws. With more than four decades of experience, our team of Houston maritime accident attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can help dock workers and longshoremen who have sustained on-the-job injuries.

Mooring lines are an inescapable sight at the Port of Houston and terminals throughout the Gulf of Mexico region. They keep ships tethered to docks and terminals while workers load and unload cargo every day.

While mooring lines look relatively innocuous from land, they can pose deadly risks to port, harbor, and dock workers. If they are tied too tightly without enough slack, this can create a serious danger of a line snap back as a result of hazardous weather conditions or unrelated dock activities. A broken mooring line can lead to devastating injuries that put an employee’s life and limbs in danger.

Common Causes of Mooring Line Accidents

There are a number of ways that a mooring line may cause a catastrophic accident that results in serious or fatal injuries for nearby dock workers. Common causes of accidents involving mooring lines may include:

  • Faulty or damaged equipment causing mooring lines to snap
  • Cinched cables or mooring lines that have been tied too tightly
  • Incidents caused by inexperienced or insufficient crew
  • Tripping over cables or mooring lines

Common Types of Mooring Line Injuries

When a mooring line breaks or snaps or otherwise causes an accident, the resulting injuries can be significant and lead to temporary or permanent physical limitations. Workers may even be killed under the wrong circumstances. Some of the common mooring line injuries that may be sustained by Houston port or harbor workers include:

  • Amputated or crushed limbs
  • Broken bones
  • Mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injuries
  • Crush injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries or paralysis
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Muscle injuries

When you suffer these types of injuries, you’re likely to have significant medical costs and a lengthy recovery period. A skilled maritime accident lawyer can help you obtain compensation for your past and future medical costs, loss of earning capacity, physical pain, physical limitations, disfigurement, and mental anguish.

Damages in Mooring Line Accidents

Numerous laws allow injured maritime workers to pursue compensation for their injuries and other losses. The laws that apply in your case will depend on the circumstances of your accident or injury. Each case involves a unique set of facts, evidence, and laws that will determine the outcome. A team of experienced Houston maritime accident attorneys, such as ours at The Krist Law Firm, P.C., can explain what to expect in your case and whether one or more of the following laws applies to your injury.

Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) may allow employees to recover compensation if they have been injured while working at a port, harbor, or on navigable waters.

In general, LHWCA compensation may be available to dock or wharf workers who meet the criteria of the following two tests designed to determine that they are maritime employees.

  • Status Test — This test pertains to the type of work an employee performs and says that some part of a worker’s duties must involve “maritime” work in order to receive compensation under the LHWCA.
  • Situs Test — This test pertains to the employee’s typical job location and says that employees who work on, near, or around the water may recover LHWCA compensation. However, administrators and office workers are excluded.

If an employee passes both the status and situs tests, he or she may be able to receive compensation for:

  • Temporary or permanent disability
  • Medical treatment
  • Transportation
  • Rehabilitation costs

Additionally, the act permits injured workers or their surviving family members to sue a third party for negligence that resulted in a dockside injury or death.

The Jones Act

For seamen injured on navigable waters, the Jones Act may allow a lawsuit against an employer. Under the Jones Act, a seaman may be able to recover compensation for past and future:

  • Medical expenses
  • Physical pain
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical limitations
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of earning capacity

Numerous factors may determine whether an employee can file a Jones Act claim, and this type of claim may not be available to some dock or harbor workers. A knowledgeable Texas maritime injury attorney can explain whether your injury is covered by the Jones Act and what options are available to you for pursuing compensation.

Maintenance and Cure

The legal doctrine of maintenance and cure allows an injured seaman to receive monetary benefits after an injury until he or she reaches maximum medical improvement. The two types of benefits that may be available under this legal doctrine include:

  • Maintenance — Compensation for daily living expenses, such as food, housing costs, and necessary utilities.
  • Cure — Payment of medical expenses arising from an injury


When a crew member is injured or killed because the vessel isn’t considered seaworthy, the affected employee or his or her surviving family members may be able to sue the vessel’s owner for compensation. If a ship’s mooring lines fail, that may be grounds for an unseaworthiness claim.

Through an unseaworthiness claim, you may be able to obtain compensation for past and future:

  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Medical bills
  • Physical limitations

An unseaworthiness claim is separate from negligence under the Jones Act and may offer additional avenues for compensation and recovery of damages. However, the employee may also be able to sue an employer or a third party for negligence in causing his or her injuries or losses.

How Our Houston Mooring Line Accident Attorneys Can Help

Mooring line accidents can lead to severe — or even fatal — injuries. When you or a family member is affected by a mooring line accident, you may have a claim for compensation under one or more maritime or Texas laws.

When our maritime injury lawyers handle your case, we start with a thorough investigation to identify potential causes of your injuries. We move quickly to preserve important evidence and to identify the responsible parties. We build the strongest possible case to show why you deserve compensation, and will take your case to trial when that’s the best course of action.

If you have suffered a mooring line injury in Texas, our team of dedicated Houston maritime accident attorneys can help. Call us for a free consultation today at 281-283-8500 , or use the contact form below to make your appointment and find out what The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can do for you.