Causes of Maritime Accidents By Michael Shelton on August 22, 2021

cargo shipWorking on a ship or boat carries many risks. Some, like severe weather, are outside of anyone’s control, but when accidents are caused by negligence, injured workers can seek compensation for damages. 

A maritime attorney can help those who have been injured at sea due to negligence obtain the compensation they are owed. At The Shelton Law Firm, attorney Michael E. Shelton advocates for maritime workers and their rights as granted under the Jones Act and other federal laws. 

Understanding the causes of maritime accidents is important when our Houston, TX, clients are seeking damages. Let’s take a closer look at some possible causes of maritime accidents and how they can lead to serious injuries. 

Slippery Surfaces

It’s common for boats or ships to have wet decks, walkways, and stairs. Slippery surfaces can cause falls and serious injuries. Falling can result in injuries to the spine, bone fractures, sprains, or traumatic brain injuries. 

Slipping on a boat or ship may also cause someone to fall overboard, potentially leading to hypothermia from cold waters, drowning, near drowning, or injuries from sea animals. 

Fires or Explosions 

Fires or explosions can cause serious injuries on a ship. Problems in the engine room can cause fires or explosions that may lead to burn injuries. Burn injuries may also occur in the galley where food and hot drinks are being prepared.  

Electrical Dangers 

Electricity and water are a dangerous combination. When ships or boats have electrical problems, sometimes as a result of poor ship maintenance, it can lead to dangerous situations for the people and crew on board. 

Electrical maritime accidents can lead to shocks, burns, or even death. They can cause fires or essential equipment to fail, putting everyone on the vessel in danger.  


Ships may collide with other vessels or permanent structures, like a dock, as a result of poor training, equipment problems, or negligence. Collisions can cause fires, electrical hazards, explosions, and falls, all of which can result in serious injuries or fatalities. 

Human Error

Human error is another potential cause of maritime accidents. Human error can happen when workers are fatigued from long hours, lack proper training, or partake in reckless or negligent behavior, such as using alcohol or drugs. 

Federal Law and Seeking Damages

Houston maritime workers who have been injured while on the job because of an employer’s negligence have the right to sue their employer for damages under the Jones Act and other federal laws.  

Through a lawsuit, it may be possible to recover medical expenses, lost wages, future lost wages, physical therapy costs, and other damages. 

Contact The Shelton Law Firm

If you work on a tugboat, cruise ship, fishing boat, ferry, barge, or other maritime vessel, and have been injured while at sea, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To discuss whether you have a case against your employer, call our Houston law firm at (713) 807-0700 or contact us online.

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Michael E. Shelton

The Shelton Law Firm

Personal injury attorney Michael E. Shelton has been representing victims of catastrophic injuries in Houston, Texas, for nearly 50 years. He is proud to be a union card holder as a journeyman pipefitter and General Counsel for the Texas Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO. He is affiliated with several prestigious organizations, including:

  • The Texas Bar Association
  • The Houston Bar Association
  • The Louisiana State Bar
  • The Louisiana Association for Justice

If you are the victim of a personal injury, schedule a free consultation with The Shelton Law Firm today by contacting us online or calling (713) 807-0700.

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