Houston Maritime Attorney

 We serve injured marine workers across the country. Offices in Texas and Louisiana.

As in any other industry, seafarers are at risk of work-related injuries any time they work. The courts recognize this and are constantly working to protect injured seafarers through the common maritime law. Maritime law gives workers injured at sea or in the maritime industry the opportunity to claim the necessary compensation for any medical complications.

History of the admiralty and maritime law

Maritime law, also called admiralty law, is almost as old as the shipping industry itself and governs most accidents that occur in navigable waters. The roots of the law can be traced back to the unwritten customs of the maritime behavior of the Egyptians and Greeks. However, the earliest formal codices were established around 900 BC. on the Greek island of Rhodes. The original maritime laws and codes originated from ancient shipping customs and regulations. For example, the General Average Doctrine — the concept that all interested parties of a sea cargo (owner, shipper, etc.) share equally any damage or loss that may result from the voluntary sacrifice of a part of a ship or cargo for salvage as a whole — can be traced to the first shipping customs of the Rhodians.

The concept of a separate legal body regulating maritime matters was brought to the West by Eleanor of Aquitaine, who learned of the concept when she accompanied her first husband, King Louis VII of France, to the Mediterranean during the Second Crusade. The term "admiralty law" originated from the British admiralty courts, which dealt with maritime affairs separately from the common law courts of England. Because the US judiciary is based on the British system, the amended admiralty laws were gradually incorporated into our legal system shortly after the constitution was ratified.

When does the law of the sea apply?

Perhaps most obviously, the law of the sea applies to events occurring on the high seas—in other words, accidents occurring outside the territorial waters of any country. In addition, the law of the sea applies to the territorial sea, that is, to waters within 12 miles of the coast. However, the applicability of the law becomes less obvious further inland. Early in the history of the United States, the law of the sea did not apply to incidents that occurred within the "body of the country" and therefore excluded incidents involving the Great Lakes and tidal inland waterways. However, during the 19th century this exception disappeared.

Maritime law now applies to "navigable waters". A waterway is considered navigable if, by itself or by being connected to other waters, it can serve as "an ongoing road along which trade is or can be carried on with other states or foreign countries." Therefore, if a body of water is completely landlocked within one state, then it is not navigable for the purposes of admiralty jurisdiction. However, a body of water does not have to flow between states to be considered navigable. A body of water may be considered navigable if it is a link in a chain of bodies of water that can be used to service interstate commerce. Ultimately, the test is that the trade of one state must be able to be transferred to another state or foreign country. Once this test is passed, it is likely that the law of the sea will apply, even if it is a pleasure craft.

Incidents That Call for Texas Marine Accident Lawyers

Houston maritime injury lawyers exist to help injured sailors or dock workers obtain the compensation they need to recover from serious injuries and pay for long-term medical expenses that have occurred at sea. This includes any accidents that occur in "navigable waters" (rivers and oceans), as well as in harbors or docks.