Maritime law, or admiralty law, is a specific area of the law that governs all activities, vessels, and offenses that occur on navigable waters. This includes oceans, rivers, and lakes, as well as unloading or loading ships and vessels inshore.
Along with governing the shipping or oil drilling industry, this area of law also pertains to individuals operating boats or riding as passengers. This area of law is extremely specialized and can be very complicated because determining jurisdiction isn’t always black and white. While the U.S. federal courts have authority, they do not have exclusive jurisdiction, and claims like cargo damage, personal injury, or boating accidents can be brought before both federal and state courts.
Because of the abundance of waterways, access to the Gulf of Mexico, and proclivity for oil drilling, maritime laws are very relevant for Texas businesses and individuals. The Gulf Coast maritime lawyers of Lapeze & Johns represent not only maritime workers but also recreational boaters, fishers, and other individuals. If you or someone you know has been injured on open water, call us at (713) 739-1010 and schedule a free consultation.
We’d also like to share with you some basic information regarding maritime accident laws in Texas.
Types of Maritime Laws
From cargo ships to private boats and even cruise ships, maritime law is a collection of international agreements and domestic laws designed to protect companies and individuals on the high seas.
Oil rig workers are also covered under these laws because many of them work in the middle of the ocean and travel back and forth to land on a daily or weekly basis. For workers at sea or on navigable waterways, they are protected under the Jones Act.
Maritime law covers the following types of accidents:
- Crane and forklift malfunctions
- Collisions between ships or transit vehicles
- Exposure to dangerous or poisonous substances
- Electrocutions, fires, and explosions
Individual Boating Laws
Maritime law also covers boating, fishing, tubing, and other recreational activities on the water miles away from shore or closer inland near the beaches. Along with federal guidelines, there are also state laws in Texas regulating boating and other activities including:
- All vehicles must be registered with local tax collector’s office
- Speed restrictions for different vessels
- Anyone under the age of 13 must wear life vests aboard any vessel
- Must report accidents that result in $2,000 in property damage or require more medical attention than basic first aid
- Never operate any boat or vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Boating while intoxicated laws follow DUI laws in Texas meaning it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. If you are injured in a boating or other recreational vehicle accident because of someone’s negligence, you can take legal action against the driver, owner, or manufacturer of the boat, as well as anyone else responsible.
Contact the dedicated and experienced Houston maritime lawyers at Lapeze & Johns if you have been involved in a maritime accident.
The Houston maritime lawyers at Lapeze & Johns PLLC have decades of experience handling commercial and individual maritime cases. We will do everything in our power to fight for you and get you the financial compensation you deserve.
Call us today at (713) 739-1010 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team now.