Houston Maritime Worker Legal Rights and Compensation in Texas
Maritime workers in offshore commerce aboard vessels in navigation are not guaranteed the same federal workers compensation protections that apply to the job force in the United States. Specific federal and state laws govern Houston maritime worker legal rights and compensation in Texas.
To protect maritime worker legal rights, several federal statutes like the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act exist in the event of on the job injury. These maritime laws offer compensation when a seaman is injured, but who is considered a maritime worker?
Who Is Considered A Maritime Worker?
In general, a person is considered a maritime worker if they spend a significant amount of time working as seaman on a vessel in navigation. Further defining the “vessel in navigation” requirement can help answer: “Who is considered a maritime worker?”
Vessel in Navigation
The Jones Act helps to define the vessel requirements that allow a worker to claim protection under maritime law. The Jones Act states that the vessel must be navigable – on the water and capable of movement. For example, if a seaman is working on a ship that is docked, but fully capable of going to sea – the worker qualifies as a maritime worker.
Working to build a ship that cannot sail won’t qualify the seaman for damages under federal maritime statues like the Jones Act. In order for a maritime worker to qualify as a Jones Act seaman under federal law, he or she must be a member of a crew and working on a vessel afloat, in operation, and capable of moving in navigable waters.
Do Oil Platform Workers Qualify?
Life on oil rigs can be hard work. Weather conditions, long hours, and heavy machinery mix to create an injury prone environment. Fires pose a significant threat to worker safety. Do these oil platform employees qualify as Jones Act seamen?
While the Gulf of Mexico is full of oil and gas drilling platforms, these platforms are not considered to be vessels in navigation. The platform might be able to float and be used as a barge, but once in place, it is anchored to the bottom of the ocean. Without the “vessel in navigation” designation, oil platform workers cannot be protected as Jones Act seamen, but other laws cover the rights of these workers.
Richard J. Plezia & Associates has extensive knowledge of the laws that govern maritime operations. Our team of maritime attorneys can lead your Houston maritime worker claims for legal rights and compensation in Texas by utilizing the federal mandates that protect maritime workers and compensate them in the event of a workplace injury. Maritime worker are protected under numerous acts and legal doctrines:
- Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
- Unseaworthy Vessel Doctrine
- Maintenance and Cure
- The Jones Act
If you have been injured in a maritime occupation, the maritime attorneys at Richard J. Plezia & Associates can help. Any injury that occurs to a crewmember aboard a vessel in navigation likely qualifies an offshore worker for compensation. Our maritime lawyers in Houston are ready to take your call, and we can help keep your employer from taking advantage of your injury.