The Port of Houston is the largest Gulf Coast container port is the sixth-largest in the United States, according to the Port of Houston Authority. In 2019, the port handled 69% of all Gulf Coast container traffic.
That’s a lot of ships and a lot of maritime workers. With all that activity comes an increased chance of injuries. Each year, countless maritime and port workers are injured in Port of Houston accidents.
If you think you or a loved one were injured at Port Houston, call (281) 283-8500 for a free, no obligation case consultation.
What Laws Apply To Port Accidents?
Various maritime laws can apply to accidents at the Port of Houston. Which law or laws apply in your case will depend on the details of your situation.
The federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act often applies to those who work primarily on dry land at docks or ports, as well as to those who work on the navigable waters of the United States.
If you were injured at the Port of Houston because your employer did not provide you with a safe workplace or failed to maintain the vessel you work on, you might be able to sue your employer for compensation under the Jones Act.
Can I Recover Workers’ Compensation for a Port of Houston Accident?
In Texas, seamen and sailors are not covered under state Workers’ Compensation insurance. But the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act functions much in the same way as state Workers’ Compensation. This act is, in essence, federal Workers’ Compensation insurance for seamen, sailors, and dock and port workers.
However, suppose you are not employed on a vessel and do not primarily work at a port or dock. In that case, you may be eligible for state workers’ comp benefits even if your injury occurred at the Port of Houston during your work. These laws may seem complicated and, in some cases, conflicting. But an experienced lawyer can help you understand how to recover compensation best.
Is My Case Different Because I Was Injured at Port?
If you were injured at the Port of Houston, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is much more likely to apply to your case than the Jones Act. The Jones Act and the Death on the High Seas Act typically apply to offshore injuries only, although there can be exceptions under certain circumstances.
What Can I Recover for a Port Accident?
Under the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and various other laws, injured maritime workers are entitled to compensation for certain damages. These include the following:
- Jones Act: Under the Jones Act, you can sue your employer for negligence and recover compensation for damages like medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: Under this act, injured maritime workers are entitled to compensation for two-thirds of their income for temporary total disability and permanent partial disability, as well as their medical bills.
- Maintenance and Cure: Due to an old maritime law, you are entitled to “maintenance” and “cure” if you are injured at sea – regardless of who is at fault. These terms refer to daily living expenses – like housing and food – and medical costs, respectively.
- Third-Party Lawsuit: In some Port of Houston accidents, someone other than your employer may be at fault. And you may be able to file a lawsuit against this third party. For example, suppose a crane or other machine malfunctioned due to manufacturer error and caused your injury. In that case, you may be able to sue the manufacturer for any damages that resulted from your injury.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Accident at the Port of Houston?
If you have been injured in an accident at the Port of Houston, various laws may apply to your case and your ability to recover compensation. Depending on where and how you were injured, various legal hurdles and strategies may arise as you try to get your life back. Expect to encounter resistance from your employer, the insurer, a third party, or whoever ultimately must compensate you. For this reason, it can be beneficial to have a trusted and experienced maritime injury attorney on your side.