Offshore workers face risks that are unique to their profession. Injuries can occur when workers are being transported on and off oil rigs. Falls, chemical exposure, explosions and other incidents can also occur while working on jack-up oil rigs or other ocean vessels.
Victims employed in offshore drilling or other maritime professions have legal rights if they are hurt at work. A standard workers’compensation claim may not be appropriate and broader compensation may be available through the Jones Act.
Offshore workers include barge workers; divers, cooks and crew members on yachts or other ocean vessels; and fish processors. People in these and other professions are classified as offshore workers as long as they are employed on a vessel in navigation. Oil rigs with retractable legs fall within this definition.
Offshore workers face many risks. Top causes of injury include:
- Being struck by an object while performing work on a jack-up rig
- Falling from a transport helicopter while traveling to an offshore oil rig
- Falling from a gateway
- Oil rig collapse
- Explosion on a jack-up rig
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals
- Diving accidents
- Unseaworthy vessels
Many offshore injuries occur because employers do not provide a safe working environment or because employers violate safety statutes. The negligence of other offshore works is also a factor in many offshore injury cases. Failure to provide adequate medical care to injured workers can exacerbate the harm that results from offshore injuries.
Working offshore is a labor intensive profession and injuries can end a career. Victims of offshore injuries also experience significant medical bills and a decreased quality of life.
Your Rights after an Offshore Accident
Federal laws protect offshore workers. Claims may be made under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’Compensation Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, and the Jones Act.
Jones Act claims provide more compensation to victims than other types of cases. Jones Act damages are referred to as maintenance and cure. Maintenance provides compensation for day-to-day living expenditures. Cure provides payment for medical treatment.
Only seamen can make Jones Act claims, but the definition of seamen is broad. An offshore accident lawyer at Broussard & Hart L.L.C. will help you determine if you classify as a seamen. Jones Act claims also require you to show your As a consumer, you have the right to expect that products will work for their intended purpose. You have the right to be confident that you will not be hurt or suffer fatal injuries due to defects or undisclosed risks of use. Manufacturers are responsible for testing the safety of their products in order to prevent harm to customers.
However, sometimes dangerous products are sold to the public. When harm results, victims or surviving family members have certain legal rights. A Louisiana product liability lawyer can help you to understand your options. You have a right to recover compensation after you or someone in your family was hurt by a defective product that failed to perform as intended.
9 Steps to Take Immediately Following a Maritime Accident
Most people know what to do following a car accident, motorcycle accident, or even a slip and fall accident but what should you do if you are involved in a commercial vessel accident? Whether you run the occasional fishing charter or you make your living at sea, knowing what to do immediately following a maritime accident is critical. Not only could you save a life one day by knowing how to react to an accident on the water but you may also make recovering compensation from an at-fault party easier as well if someone else was at fault in the accident. While no two accidents present exactly the same set of circumstances, the following steps should be taken after any maritime accident:
- Report the accident to authorities. Local authorities should be contacted by calling 911 or the local Sheriff’s emergency number, particularly if there is even the possibility of an injury to anyone involved. In addition, a commercial vessel accident on U.S navigable waters must be immediately reported by telephone to the nearest USCG, Marine Inspection Office, or Coast Guard Group Office. The report must also be followed up in writing within 5 days on USCG Form CG-2692. If the accident involves an oil or chemical spill it must be immediately reported to the National Response Center by calling 800-424-8802 or 202-267-2675.
- Comply with testing. S. commercial vessel operators are also required to comply with post-accident drug and alcohol testing as well as any additional applicable post-accident regulations.
- Seek medical treatment. Have a complete medical evaluation done as soon as possible. Many serious, even life-threatening injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, do not result in obvious symptoms until hours or days after the injury. Not only will you ensure that all injuries are caught early on by having an immediate evaluation done but you will also establish a nexus between any injuries you sustained and the accident that caused the injuries in the event of a lawsuit down the road.
- Document the scene. Take pictures of the accident scene and all involved vessels with your camera, cell phone or tablet if you are able to do so.
- Preserve the scene. Do not disturb the accident scene unless absolutely necessary so that the authorities may conduct their investigation.
- Obtain contact information. If you are able, obtain the names and contact information for all involved parties as well as any witnesses to the accident.
- Submit a written report to the captain. As soon as possible after the accident make a detailed written report and submit it to the captain. Keep a copy for yourself or create your own report for future reference. Over time, details tend to fade. Having a detailed account you created right after the accident can be helpful should the accident result in litigation.
- Do not discuss the accident. Do not agree to speak to insurance adjuster or anyone else other than the authorities until you have consulted with an attorney. Typically, the USCG will allow you to have an attorney present during an investigation. All too often people make comments that are later taken out of context or used against them should the accident result in a lawsuit which is why you should always speak to an attorney before you agree to discuss the accident with anyone.
- Seek legal advice. Contact an experienced maritime accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the accident investigation and any potential litigation that follows.
A Jones Act Lawyer Can Help Bring Closure
A Jones Act lawyer is your best ally when you have been injured or fall ill while working in a maritime-related industry. The complexity of Maritime law calls for the expertise of an attorney specializing in Jones Act litigation. Consult with someone who is qualified by success to represent your case in negotiations, and in the courtroom, ensuring that due compensation is rightfully awarded you.
Securing an experienced Jones Act lawyer is a first order of business when you have been injured “in the service of a ship.” There are, by law, time constraints on filing these claims after injury. Promptness in partnering with legal representation is in your best interest for bringing timely closure and due compensation to your case. Do not delay in seeking your right of damages from responsible parties. Never sign any settlement contract or release without advice from your attorney.
You want a law firm that has the resources to fight for you to victory, working hard and effectively toward maximum recovery. You want an attorney successful at acquiring the best medical care and full compensation for sustained off-shore injuries. You need a Jones Act lawyer confidently prepared to challenge any effort to deny rightful benefits for injured seamen. You want someone with a compassionate grasp of your unique situation and need who will make the successful outcome of your case the number-one focus.
A Jones Act lawyer is knowledgeable regarding what constitutes “unseaworthy” conditions on board a vessel, and understands the ramifications of “negligence” for your employer. Your description of defective equipment, inadequate crew, or unsafe conditions onboard will allow Counsel to assess unseaworthy conditions as a claim. Defining inferior equipment, unsafe work conditions not corrected, or inadequate medical treatment after an injury will be effective in evaluating a negligence charge. Proof must be offered for the claim of injury due to unseaworthiness or negligence under the Jones Act, so it is vital that you identify witnesses for corroboration.
When severe injury or wrongful death is proven to be eligible for claim under the Jones Act, damages covering medical care, lost wages, and maintenance are due compensation. These damages extend to the dependents of a seaman whose death results from a covered injury, allowing for the recovery of lost supporting income. An expert maritime attorney is able to acquire this recompense in these cases.
Due to the unique hazards of maritime employment, the Jones Act is a life raft of legitimate recourse for seamen who suffer serious injury while assigned to the service of a vessel on navigable waters. Every seaman is entitled to a safe work environment, adequate medical care, and a crew sufficiently trained so as to be able to work without threat of injury. If you are injured and in need of a qualified Jones Act lawyer to represent your rights under the law, locate one in whom the confidence of just reward for your injuries is well deserved.
With more than 30 years of experience and a history of helping clients to recover more than $100 million in compensation, Broussard & Hart, L.L.C. has built a strong reputation for successful client advocacy after injuries. Call today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys can help you.
View the Jones Act Attorney Sitemap
Wrongful Death Attorney
Personal Injury Attorney
24 Hour Response
Our attorneys will review your case and represent you throughout your offshore accident claim. Contact Broussard & Hart L.L.C. today for help pursuing a offshore accident settlement. Your first consultation is free and we won’t charge fees unless money is recovered.
Need to Learn More about Offshore Accident Lawsuits?