Houston, the largest city in Texas and fourth largest city in the United States, is an ideal location for the maritime industry. The city not only sits along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, but it is also surrounded by several lakes and bayous. The Port of Houston serves as a leading public and private facilities port, stretched out over 25 miles. As one of the busiest ports in the nation, maritime workers have numerous duties, including maintenance, commercial fishing, cargo handling, and more. Tragically, Houston has some of the highest numbers in the nation for maritime injuries and fatalities, many of which were a result of unseaworthy vessels and employer negligence.
Houston Maritime Accidents and Injuries
Crane accidents are prevalent in Houston, and sadly, a few of these incidents have ended tragically. In December of 2011, port worker Allen Chase was killed when a crane weighing 250,000 tons crashed on him. Another worker was operating the crane when it struck Chase. Co-workers and crew members must be aware of others at all times. However if accidents are caused by defective equipment and/or poor training in safety protocols, employers may be liable for damages.
In another tragic maritime accident in Houston, Manuel Frenz was killed in 2012 after a steel beam fell on him. Frenz was by his truck, waiting for it to be loaded at the Port of Houston when the beam fell down and crushed him to death. Investigators stated that improper loading was the probable cause of the accident.
In May of 2010, a longshoreman won a settlement of $1.2 million after it was determined that negligence played a part in the worker developing lifelong injuries. The longshoreman, whose name was not released, was unloading materials at the Port of Houston when a yard mule truck crashed into him. Consequently, he underwent neck surgery shortly after.
Employer Negligence and Maritime Accidents
A multitude of Houston accidents and injuries could have been eliminated had workers been provided their legal rights to work on a seaworthy vessel and in safe conditions. Each year, seamen are injured because of the sheer negligence and carelessness of employers, vessel owners, manufacturing companies, and other crew members. If a seaman is injured on the job because the negligence of another party, the Jones Act mandates that employers are liable for damages.
Keep in mind that if you are a seaman and have been injured on the job, you also have rights that protect you and hold the liable party accountable for damages. For more information, it’s recommended to retain legal representation from an experienced Houston maritime attorney who understands maritime law on both state and federal levels.
Meanwhile, for additional resources on your rights and compensation benefits, see our article Maritime Rights and Compensation and for specific information on the Jones Act, see our article Jones Act Lawyer.