ACCIDENTS AT SEA OR PORT HOUSTON – YOU NEED A MARITIME LAWYER. Houston is one of the largest cities in the U.S. and part of the state of Texas’s long Gulf coast, which is cut through with miles of canals. In fact, the Port of Houston is one of the largest ports in the country and is responsible for more cargo by weight than any other U.S. port.
There is one cruise terminal because the vast majority of the port is dedicated to container and cargo shipping and trade. Goods from Houston go out to ports around the world, and ships from many other countries come into dock here and unload cargo for further distribution.
Ports are busy and dangerous places for the people who work in them. If you work at the Port of Houston you face risks on the job and the possibility of accidents that could leave you injured, ill, or even dead. If you are facing these kinds of on-the-job risks, you need to know that federal maritime laws are in place to ensure you get the money you need to get back on your feet after an accident. To help you navigate the system of laws, depend on a Houston maritime lawyer.
The Port of Houston
Of the 18 ports in the state of Texas, the Port of Houston is the biggest and busiest. It’s also one of the biggest and most important ports in the country and takes in and exports more cargo by ton than any other. The port is mostly dedicated to cargo and container shipping, but there is one cruise terminal here. The port spans 25 miles and leads all other ports in handling breakbulk cargo.
Each year the Port of Houston sees over 8,000 shipping vessels and more than 200 million tons of cargo. In addition to the public shipping terminals there are 150 different private companies operating in the port and it contributes to over one million jobs in the state. The Bayport cruise terminal is a modern facility and the starting point for cruise ships in the Princess and Norwegian cruise lines.
Maritime Accidents in Houston
Not far from Houston, in the smaller Port of Texas City, the Houston area saw its most disastrous accident in 1947. A French cargo ship exploded because of an onboard fire that overheated the large cargo of highly-explosive ammonium nitrate fertilizer. The explosion killed several hundred people, even though the ship had been evacuated. It was such a large explosion that people in the port were killed and thousands more were injured.
Not all of the accidents that have occurred in and around Houston are as devastating as a big explosion. There are many smaller incidents that occur all too often, causing damage, injuries, and sometimes even fatalities for workers. One example occurred in 2015 when a worker fell into the cargo hold of a ship. He had to be removed with a crane and carried to the hospital to receive treatment for serious injuries. In another incident a barge ran into an electrical tower, which could have caused serious electrical injuries, but thankfully did not. Instead it cost money by shutting down the shipping channel while repairs were made.
Houston’s port has also seen its fair share of pilot-related accidents. All boats coming into the port must hire a local pilot to navigate up the channel and into the port. Pilots have very dangerous jobs and have to move ships through the narrow channel and past other ships moving through the same channel. Accidents are bound to happen, but too often these are preventable accidents caused by miscommunications and pilot error. For example, a big collision occurred in 2001 when a pilot did not communicate to a passing ship that he was coming and he was piloting the ship too fast for the conditions in the water. The collision didn’t injure anyone, but it did result in a major cargo spill that polluted the water.
Collisions also occur that do hurt people, including one that happened as a ship came into the port and struck a bridge over the canal. It was a crane on top of the ship that hit the bridge, and the captain of the ship should have known that it would not clear the overpass. Several people, in vehicles on the bridge at the time were seriously injured, but nobody was killed. A lot of damage was done to the bridge as well.
Legal Rights for Houston Maritime Workers
The jobs of maritime workers are dangerous, as the above examples illustrate. There are so many ways in which shipping, navigation, and loading and unloading of cargo can go wrong with disastrous consequences. From malfunctioning container cranes that drop their heavy loads to toxic chemical spills to falls into the water or onto hard surfaces, and everything else that can go wrong, maritime jobs are dangerous. Accidents may lead to minor injuries, major injuries, life-altering injuries, and even fatalities. And, if you have been in one of these accidents and have felt the repercussions, you have a right to compensation.
To help you get that compensation you need to rely on the assistance of a professional, someone experienced in helping other maritime workers get the money they were owed. Maritime law is there to protect you, but it isn’t easy to navigate the many laws that apply to different types of workers and different situations. You may need to go up against your employer or an insurance company, which will be much easier if you have a Houston maritime lawyer on your side. With someone like this you can get all of the money you are owed and which is crucial to getting well again and back to work.
The Port of Houston consistently ranks as one of the busiest seaports in the United States. With more than 150 terminals along the 52-mile Houston Ship Canal, the Port of Houston serves more than 8,000 vessels, container ships, offshore drilling rigs and over 200,000 barges annually. Companies across the United States and around the world import and export more than 200 million tons of cargo through the Port of Houston each year. With so much business, our lawyers know that a Port of Houston accident is an all too common occurrence. Fortunately, our Texas Jones Act lawyers are here to help.
With the long-awaited opening of the Panama Canal Expansion, multiple sources have reported that the Port of Houston and the Texas shipping economy are likely to be two of the biggest benefactors of the new, bigger locks. To prepare for the increased traffic, the Port of Houston Authority has installed new container cranes that are nearly 30 stories tall and dredged deeper channels capable of servicing vessels carrying as many as 13,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). This means more job opportunities for seamen, tug boat and barge workers, longshoremen and other maritime workers. Unfortunately, it means more opportunities for job-related injuries and accidents in the Port of Houston, as well.
Injury Risks for Seamen and Other Maritime Workers at the Port of Houston
Longshoremen, seamen and other maritime workers face countless risks on a daily basis. From loading and crane accidents to accidents onboard vessels coming into port, simple mistakes and lack of adequate safety precautions can easily lead to life-changing injuries. When maritime workers get injured on the job, they and their families pay the price, and hiring an experienced maritime lawyer becomes critical. Without experienced representation, if you or a loved one has been injured on the job, you most likely are not going to recover the compensation you deserve.
Why? The answer is simple. Shipping companies and the other major corporations that hire maritime workers at the Port of Houston have teams of lawyers on their side. These lawyers know the Jones Act and maritime law, and they know how to make sure that their clients pay as little as possible to the injured worker. If you don’t have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney fighting for you, you are going to be at a distinct disadvantage.
The Right Choice for Maritime Workers After a Port of Houston Accident. At the Willis Law Firm, we are committed to helping injured maritime workers and their families. We, too, know what it takes to win, and we do what it takes to help our clients recover maximum compensation. But, don’t just take our word for it, see what our clients have had to say as well.
With the Willis Law Firm, you get:
- Experience – Jones Act lawyer David Willis has been helping injured maritime workers for over 40 years.
- Focus – We are devoted to representing injured workers, not the shipping companies.
- Local Representation – Our offices are located in Houston, Texas.
- Contingency Fees – Your initial consultation is completely free, and you only pay legal fees if we win your case.
Texas Maritime Attorney – Protecting the Rights Crewmembers Injured in the Port of Houston and Throughout the State. Working in the Texas maritime industry is a physically demanding and inherently dangerous profession. Maritime accidents can be traumatic and an injured worker might be off the job for months, years, and in some cases, forever. Medical expenses associated with the treatment and rehabilitation of a severe injury can easily run into the thousands of dollars, if not millions. The lost wages, hefty medical bills, and pain and suffering resulting from an accident can be overwhelming and leave victims and their family members unsure as where they can turn for help.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident involving an offshore drilling rig, ship, jackup rig, fishing boat, barge or other type of maritime vessel and need legal assistance, the Willis Law Firm is here to help. Based in Houston, Texas we are an experienced maritime injury law firm that has been helping injured workers and crewmembers throughout Texas and across the country for more than 40 years. We are a strong and compassionate team of professionals who are focused on making sure that our clients recover maximum financial compensation when a serious maritime accident occurs.