Offshore accident attorney - Offshore workers often face hazards on the job that can result in injuries or fatalities. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), six offshore workers were killed and 160 were injured in 2020. If you or a loved one has been injured in an offshore accident, it is important to seek the assistance of a skilled attorney. An offshore accident attorney can help you recover compensation from your employer and provide support for the families of workers who have been killed on the job. Maritime law provides various statutes to protect workers and their families, and an offshore lawyer can help you understand your legal options and determine the best course of action for your case. An offshore attorney will work to seek justice for accident victims by following the necessary steps to build a strong case and advocate for your rights.
Common Offshore Accidents and Injuries
Offshore accidents, such as those that occur on oil platforms away from land, can take many forms and can be particularly dangerous due to the nature of the work and the potential for long distances to access medical care. Some common types of offshore accidents include:
- Slips and falls
- Falling objects
- Waterblasting incidents
- Welding fume exposure
- Vehicle and other collisions
- Chemical exposure
These and other offshore accidents can cause a number of injuries ranging from relatively minor to catastrophic and even fatal. Common injuries include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Eye damage
- Knee and ankle impairments
- Head injuries
- Back injuries
- Spine injuries
Compensation for Offshore Injuries
Workers on stationary offshore oil rigs and natural gas wells are generally eligible for workers' compensation benefits for injuries sustained on the job. Others, including those working on boats, may be covered under the Jones Act and the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, which provide protection for seamen and others injured while working on the "navigable waters of the United States," including workers on mobile oil extraction vehicles like drillships and jack-up rigs. These acts offer medical benefits and compensation for missed wages, future medical expenses, reductions in earning capacity, and pain and suffering in certain situations. The Longshoreman and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act also provides compensation for workers who load and unload cargo, based on the nature of the injury and the worker's income at the time of the accident. Workers' compensation is a form of insurance in which an employer contributes to a system that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work.
What to Do If You've Been Injured
If you have been injured while working offshore, it is important to take the following steps to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the medical care and compensation you deserve:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your health and well-being should be your top priority.
- Report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. This is important for obtaining workers' compensation benefits and preserving your legal rights.
- Keep track of all medical treatments and expenses related to your injury. This will be important for obtaining compensation and documenting the extent of your injuries.
- Consult with an experienced attorney who has knowledge of offshore injury cases. An attorney can advise you on your legal options and help you navigate the process of seeking compensation.
- Follow all instructions from your doctor and attend all necessary follow-up appointments. This will help you recover as quickly as possible and will also be important for documenting the extent of your injuries.
- Keep all documentation related to the accident and your injuries, including medical records, reports, and bills. This will be important for supporting your claim for compensation.
Once you decide to hire an attorney, they will begin gathering information to support your claim. Any evidence you have, such as photos of the accident scene and medical reports, can be helpful in building your case. If additional evidence is needed, your attorney may hire an investigator to locate supporting details. The attorney will use this information to establish your claim and build a strong case on your behalf.
Meets with the Victim or Family
Your first step in pursuing an offshore accident claim is to schedule a consultation with an attorney. Many offshore accident attorneys offer free consultations, which allow you to discuss your case, learn more about the attorney, and understand your legal options. During this meeting, you can share your story and ask any questions you may have. This consultation is an opportunity to gather information and determine the best course of action for your case.
Once all evidence related to the accident has been gathered, your attorney will calculate the damages you are entitled to, which may include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Maritime laws can vary in terms of the amount of financial recovery that is allowed, so it is important to work with an attorney who is experienced in interpreting these complex laws. Your attorney will use their knowledge of these laws to determine the full extent of your damages and advocate for the maximum amount of compensation possible on your behalf.
Negotiates for a Settlement
To expedite the process and secure the best possible outcome for you and your family, your attorney will typically first attempt to negotiate a settlement with the defendant's insurance company. They will present the company with a damages request and work to reach an agreement through negotiation. You will have the final say in accepting any settlement offer that is made. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may consider other legal options, such as filing a lawsuit.
Takes the Case to Trial
If negotiations with the insurance company are unsuccessful, your case may proceed to trial. It is important to hire a law firm with trial experience, because the possibility of going to trial can give you a stronger negotiating position. Trials can be stressful and costly, but if it is necessary to secure the compensation you deserve, your maritime lawyer will advocate for you in court. Throughout the legal process, it is important that your attorney stays in close communication with you and explains the steps involved. They should serve as a dedicated advocate who looks out for your best interests and works to secure maximum compensation for you.
Advocates for Safer Offshore Work
Although no one wants to go through the stress of filing an injury claim, a maritime attorney can help you hold your employer accountable for any harm they have caused. By speaking out against dangerous practices, injured workers and their families can help improve safety in the offshore industry and protect other workers. An offshore attorney can assist in this effort by helping you and your family recover the compensation needed to move forward after an accident. Working with an attorney can also allow you to play a role in promoting safety and protecting others from suffering similar injuries.