According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), over the past decade, there have been 23 fatalities and over 2,000 injuries on drilling rigs and other offshore structures.
Offshore structures, such as drillings rigs, can be an extremely dangerous work environment for oil and gas workers. Over time, the increased production activity has resulted in larger numbers of people working in close quarters with others as a way to maximize profits. The more people that are on these offshore sites, the more likely a serious accident is to occur.
Some of the most common offshore structure dangers include:
Offshore work is both physically demanding and dangerous, and severe injuries are all too common. Injuries that offshore employees face include head injuries, fractures, and electrical shock and, at times, can even be fatal. Here at The Cochran Firm, we represent maritime workers in many different types of offshore injuries, including:
If you find yourself in a maritime accident, it is essential that you act rapidly to protect your rights. Below you will find a brief guide on what to do if you are injured at sea. The following actions are crucial for maritime accidents:
Most maritime accidents are preventable by adequate maintenance, training, and procedures. Maritime and sea laws are in place to guarantee that injured people have a way to recuperate damages from the responsible parties when injuries are the result of carelessness, neglect, improper procedures, defective equipment, or unseaworthiness. It is important that you maintain legal representation if you feel any of your rights have been overlooked or violated.
Maritime law, Admiralty law, and Jones Act laws are complex, and it can be hard to determine which laws are applicable to your specific case. If you are unsure of which law your accident will fall under, contact our experienced maritime injury attorneys today for a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
Depending on the conditions of your offshore accident, you may be awarded compensation under either federal maritime law or state personal injury law. Our experienced maritime attorneys will be able to guide you through this difficult process and help you determine what rights you have specific to the conditions of your offshore injury.
The four methods of compensation are:
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also referred to as the Jones Act, is a federal statute that extends the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA) to seamen. The Jones Act enables seamen that have been injured while employed at sea to bring a personal injury claim against their employers. Under this act, the injured employee can bring an action in either federal or state court. While general maritime law does not include the right to trial by jury, the Jones Act does. Although some claims can be settled during pre-litigation negotiations, the only way you can preserve your rights to pursue a claim is to file a lawsuit.
The Death on High Seas Act (DOHSA) states that when someone passes away because of either a wrongful act, negligence, or default that occurred while on high seas beyond three nautical miles from the shore of the United States, a civil lawsuit can be brought against the individual or vessel liable. The action will solely benefit the deceased's spouse, parent, child, or dependent relative.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) is a federal law that offers the payment of compensation, medical care, and professional rehabilitation services to workers disabled from on the job injuries that happen on the navigable waters of the United States or in adjacent areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing or building of a vessel. The LHWCA also offers payment of survivor benefits to dependents if the work injury causes or contributes to the death of the employee. These benefits are normally paid by the self-insured employer or by a private insurance provider on behalf of the employer. The term "injury" consists of occupational diseases, hearing loss, and illnesses occurring out of employment. The LHWCA covers all employees that hold traditional maritime positions, like ship-repairs, shipbuilders, ship-breakers, harbor construction workers, and longshore workers.
General maritime laws were initially created to develop the rights of maritime workers prior to the Jones Act, or the Longshore and Harbor Employees' Compensation Act were created. Its fundamental provisions make sure that maritime workers are given general living expenses and medical costs after suffering an injury and that the ship owners supply a safe workplace.
General maritime law does not only cover injuries but also illnesses you may get while on the job. Unlike the Jones Act, which states your injury needs to be the outcome of unseaworthiness or carelessness, under general maritime law, the accident could be your fault or nobody's fault, and you may still be entitled to Maintenance and Cure.
Under general maritime law, an employer is required to provide an injured maritime worker with Maintenance and Cure benefits till they are able to work again or have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
"Maintenance" describes an employer's responsibility to provide an injured employee with food and lodging while the seaman is off the vessel and unable to work due to the injury or illness. "Cure" refers to doctors and hospital bills, diagnostic tests and scans, prescriptions, and rehab and therapy.
You do not have to prove fault to recuperate Maintenance and Cure. When filing a claim, the same restriction periods apply as a Jones Act negligence claim.
The word "unseaworthiness" is a term in the realm of maritime law, and its significance in maritime law differs slightly from its significance in the marine industry.
Under maritime law, a seaworthy vessel is a ship whose hull, equipment, and crew are reasonably appropriate in design, upkeep, and character to perform their desired functions in the operation of the ship.
Unseaworthiness does not mean that the vessel is unable to be sailed or navigated. A vessel is unseaworthy in regards to a seaman if it does not supply him with safe and appropriate appliances with which to perform his work and if it does not offer him a safe place in which to work.
The injured seaman does not need to show that the entire vessel was unseaworthy or that it was in danger of sinking. All that the injured worker needs to prove is that some condition or aspect of the vessel, equipment, or crew was not fairly fit for its intended function and that they were injured as a result. For example, if the engine breaks down and the vessel is sitting in the water until the engine can be fixed, the captain may believe that it is unseaworthy, but that does not make the vessel unseaworthy for maritime law purposes.
If a seaman is injured or dies because of an unseaworthy condition, the seaman (or his surviving family) will be entitled to compensation from the owner of the vessel. The types of damages that will be available in an unseaworthiness claim include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost income (present and future), compensation for disability, and other damages under maritime law.
There are many different types of damages that may be covered under your maritime injury case. These damages are different for each individual case, but most compensation for maritime injuries includes:
Maritime injury law is very complex. It is in your best interest to consult an experienced maritime attorney in order to receive the maximum compensation for your injury. If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in an offshore accident, please contact The Cochran Firm today for a free, no-obligation initial consultation.
As soon as you've been injured on the job, insurance adjusters and even your employer will immediately begin the process of trying to pay the least amount possible for your injuries. It's important to take your time when signing and filling out forms, as you can be misinformed to sign something that prevents you from getting what you are entitled to. For example, if you have been injured on the job, you have the right to maintenance and cure regardless of the way the accident occurred and who is at fault. In addition, you may also have rights under general maritime law for pain, suffering, lost revenues, living expenses, and more.
Insurance providers, even in the maritime industry, are known for trying to settle low with injured employees and conserve as much money as they possibly can. An experienced maritime injury attorney is aware of these techniques and will ensure that all your rights are being fulfilled before you sign any documentation. Additionally, there is a chance that your injuries may get blamed on pre-existing conditions or because of fault of your own, which oftentimes gets employers off the hook for liability. These circumstances are among a few of the methods that employers and insurance providers perform in order to get out of paying you what you truly deserve. As a result, you must completely understand how general maritime law works and what you are rightfully entitled to before you sign any documentation. In fact, it is in your best interest to have your attorney look over all of your documents prior to signing anything in order to even the playing field against your employer and the insurance provider.
The attorneys at The Cochran Firm have secured over $35 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments for our clients. While no claim is guaranteed to result in millions of dollars, we can guarantee that our attorneys will do whatever it takes to make sure you are compensated for every cent you are due. We have helped clients across the country receive the justice they deserve:
Johnnie Cochran had long dreamed of creating a national law firm of men and women from all races, religions, creeds, and backgrounds to show how well we could all work together to make the world a better place. When Mr. Cochran started The Cochran Firm, his mission was “a journey to justice.” Today, with more than 35 offices across more than 20 states, the attorneys at The Cochran Firm work every day to fulfill that dream and continue that mission by working for our clients with the same work ethic and dedication to justice exemplified by Mr. Johnnie Cochran himself.
The Cochran Firm is a diverse group of highly skilled and experienced lawyers that are dedicated to bringing high-quality representation to injured people and their families. Our experienced attorneys at The Cochran Firm are among the nation’s most recognized and successful attorneys in the country. When navigating through the legal process, you deserve to have an experienced attorney by your side. Our attorneys at The Cochran Firm know how to fight for you.
Here at The Cochran Firm, each of our attorneys is ready to help victims receive the maximum compensation and financial recovery for all of their pain and suffering. Our attorneys work closely with each of our clients using pooled resources and their access to legal expertise to ensure the most effective legal representation available is provided.
You need the help of an experienced maritime attorney who has proven successful results in other similar cases to guide you through the process and help you to receive the monetary damages you are entitled to under the law. The Cochran Firm’s results have been well documented and demonstrated both in the courtroom and at settlement conferences. At The Cochran Firm, we have the offices, the experience, the results, and the resources to aid clients throughout the United States.
If you’re looking for an experienced maritime attorney to help you pursue justice for your offshore injury, please contact our attorneys at The Cochran Firm today for your free, no-obligation initial consultation today. We serve the entire country with offices in many major U.S. cities.
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