If you’ve suffered an injury while working at sea or on a vessel, you deserve experienced legal representation that navigates the complexities of maritime law. At the Cobos Law Firm, we specialize in advocating for maritime workers and ensuring they receive the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Our Houston-based law firm is experienced in maritime law
The Cobos Law Firm is a maritime injury law firm based out of Houston, Texas. Why is this important? Because Houston is the nation’s energy capital with one of the most active industrial ports in the country, we know the best practices and culture of the maritime industry.
Our attorneys understand maritime law.
When you sustain an injury at sea, on a rig or at port, it is vital to work with an experienced maritime attorney with a comprehensive understanding of these complex laws.
If you have been injured on a vessel, an offshore platform or at a shipping terminal, contact us and let the Cobos Law Firm fight for you.
Why Choose Us?
Our legal team comprises seasoned maritime attorneys with a deep understanding of admiralty law, equipped to handle a wide array of maritime injury cases.
PROVEN TRACK RECORD
With a history of successful outcomes, we have secured just compensation for numerous maritime injury victims, ensuring their rights are protected.
We understand the challenges you’re facing. Our compassionate approach ensures not just legal support but also guidance through this difficult time.
We’ll meticulously evaluate the circumstances of your injury, whether it occurred on a ship, oil rig, or any other maritime setting.
Our attorneys will provide clear, comprehensive guidance, explaining your rights, options, and potential outcomes every step of the way.
We strive to secure the maximum compensation available for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Types of Cases We Handle
Jones Act Claims: We represent seamen injured on navigable waters due to negligence.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA): Advocating for compensation for workers injured on docks, harbors, or terminals.
Boating Accidents: Assisting individuals injured in recreational boating accidents due to negligence.
Whether the injury occurred on a ship, a barge, or an offshore platform, The Cobos Law Firm’s attorneys possess the knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of maritime law and deliver results. Our maritime attorneys are well-versed in:
- Barge Accidents
- Cargo Ship Accidents
- Commercial Fishing Accidents
- Deck Accidents
- Jackup Rig or Drilling Accidents
- Oil Platform Accidents
- Shipyard Accidents
- Tugboat Accidents
- Cruise Ship Accidents
- Private Yacht Accidents
Maritime Injury FAQs
How are maritime injury cases different from other injury cases?
Maritime law (formerly known as admiralty law) is an entirely separate category of law that exists to help injured seamen recover from injuries sustained during work.
Without these laws, injured seamen would be forced to act independently to counteract any suffering sustained at work. Whenever a maritime worker becomes sick or injured, the owner of the vessel must reimburse their losses. Maritime attorneys refer to this as “maintenance and cure.”
Maintenance and cure requires shipowners to care for injured crew members. “Maintenance” creates an obligation for owners to provide seamen and maritime workers with basic living expenses until they are able to return to work. On the other hand, “cure” requires shipowners to provide injured workers with free medical care. This includes cases of permanent or long-term care.
The shipowner is obligated to provide care until the seaman reaches “maximum medical cure,” which means they are as close as possible to their condition before the injury.
Moreover, seamen are eligible to recover full wages for the length of the voyage during which they sustained the illness or injury. Oftentimes, their employment contract dictates the number of unearned wages they are eligible to receive.
There are several key categories of maritime law that govern how seamen should be compensated for injuries or death:
- Death on the High Seas Act
- Jones Act / Merchant Marine Act
- Limitation Liability Act
- Longshoremen & Harbor Workers Compensation Act
Originally, jurisdiction over maritime matter went to federal courts. Today, many maritime injury cases are heard in either state or federal courts.
However, the exception to this is any case that involves maritime property. These cases must be tried in a federal court. The most important thing to remember is that when a state court presides over a maritime case, they have to apply maritime law, not state law.
What is Death on the High Seas Act?
Commercial maritime work is dangerous. Occasionally the negligence or wrongful act of an employer or co-worker can result in a worker’s death.
Under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), if a loved one working on a commercial vessel died at least three nautical miles from a U.S. shoreline, the spouse, parent, child or another dependent relative may recover fair compensation for lost wages, funeral expenses, and costs for counseling.
For a claim to be successful, a maritime attorney must prove negligence on the part of the shipowner or a fellow worker. Even if the deceased may have contributed to his or her own loss of life, some compensation may still be warranted.
What is the Jones Act or Merchant Marine Act?
If your place of employment is for a business on land yet you sustain work-related injuries, the workers compensation laws for that particular state apply. That’s simply not the case when your work is off-shore.
The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act, is a federal statute enacted in 1920 which mainly regulates maritime commerce between U.S. ports. However, a portion of the Act also enables maritime workers to file for benefits from their employers for work-related injuries due to their negligence.
This applies whether you are a captain or mate, a deckhand or cook or bartender. If you contribute at least 30 percent of your work time to the work of a vessel while on navigable waters and you sustain injuries, you can apply for benefits. This includes lost wages, medical expenses, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
In some instances, offshore workers may also be entitled to punitive damages if it can be proven that the employer demonstrated a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of employees. A good Jones Act lawyer can put together a strong suit and get you the compensation you deserve.
What is the Limitation Liability Act?
The Limitation Liability Act protects vessel owners from having to pay compensation for an injury or death that exceeds the value of their craft. This can be bad news for a maritime worker with a claim.
Once a vessel owner files a limitation of liability suit, the proceedings for all claims are stayed. This stay lasts until they consolidate the hearings into a single proceeding where those with competing claims may have to accept pro-rated settlements.
Additionally, limitation liability suits disallow jury trials. Fortunately, some personal injury suits are exempt. These include suits for wages owed to seamen as well as maintenance and cure claims.
If a limitation liability suit has been filed to counter your claim, you need a qualified maritime injury lawyer. Houston is home to one of the best firms in the business, the Cobos Law Firm. Moreover, we provide a free initial consultation to help you understand your rights.
What is the Longshoremen & Harbor Workers Compensation Act?
The LHWCA is similar to the Jones Act. It provides an avenue for maritime workers to receive compensation for lost wages, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation due to an injury sustained on the job. Whether workers are covered under the Jones Act or the LHWCA is strictly tied to their occupational relationships to the vessel.
Seamen are covered by the Jones Act. Longshore workers, dock workers, harbor construction workers, and the like are covered by the LHWCA. If you’re a longshoreman or harbor worker seeking representation from a knowledgeable maritime injury lawyer, Houston is the best place to look.
The Cobos Law Firm in Houston, TX, specializes in maritime law and can help you get the fair compensation you deserve.
Can any personal injury lawyer represent me in a maritime injury case?
Any law firm can say they cover maritime cases, but you need to work with a firm that has specific experience and expertise in representing maritime injury cases. That’s because the laws governing maritime injuries are an entirely separate category of law.
Due in large part to these legal nuances, a maritime injury lawsuit is evaluated differently—and oftentimes, more positively—by insurance companies and maritime Defendants. In other words, you never want for you or a loved one to get injured, but if you are injured, greater settlements and recoveries often occur to “seamen” that were injured on a seafaring vessel.
Maintenance and cure laws help to ensure the injured party’s medical and rehabilitation bills are paid as well as basic day-to-day living expenses during the recuperation period.
If you have been sidelined by a maritime injury and are in need of a maritime injury lawyer, The Cobos Law Firm can help. Our Houston-based maritime injury lawyers understand maintenance and cure laws and what is required to put together a solid case for you in court.
Does my case qualify as a maritime injury lawsuit?
To be clear, a water-based lawsuit is not limited to “seamen.” Recreational boaters are frequently injured due to the negligence of other people or companies. So too are jet-skiers, inner-tubers, beachgoers, and the like. Individuals who are injured while participating in these recreational injuries have valid claims against the person responsible, but those lawsuits follow a procedural processes more like car accidents.
In contrast to these recreational injuries, a person who is injured while working on a “vessel” can file a “Jones Act” case. This law—the “Jones Act”—is the cornerstone of maritime injury law and has been favorable to injured seamen and their families. To file a Jones Act case, a Plaintiff must meet the following criteria:
- They have a substantial connection to a vessel in navigation.
- They must show that their employer, the vessel owner, or fellow crew members acted irresponsibly (or “negligently”) or that the vessel was “unseaworthy.”
- They must show that the negligence or unseaworthiness described above caused their injuries.
If a Jones Act claimant can meet each of those requirements, they can pursue and recover damages beyond medical expenses and lost wages, encompassing pain and suffering, emotional distress, and future earning capacity. Whereas many injury claims are hampered by workman’s compensation laws, Jones Act claimants can recover a wider variety of damages from a wider variety of sources. These lawsuits are not easy, but they are worthwhile.
The Cobos Law Firm boasts a team of seasoned maritime attorneys with a wealth of experience in handling a wide array of maritime injury cases. Their in-depth understanding of the unique challenges posed by maritime accidents ensures that clients receive tailored legal strategies, maximizing their chances of obtaining the compensation they deserve. Whether the injury occurred on a ship, a barge, or an offshore platform, The Cobos Law Firm’s attorneys possess the knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of maritime law and deliver results.