Experienced in Offshore & Maritime Law
Injuries sustained offshore can result in serious injuries or death. Injured offshore workers have legal rights and can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
If you were injured offshore, you should immediately contact an experienced Louisiana offshore injury lawyer to pursue your personal injury claim.
Offshore injuries and workers’ compensation claims can be very complex. A knowledgeable offshore injury law firm will ensure that you receive the medical treatment you need without jeopardizing your rights to file a claim for financial damages.
Have You Been Hurt in an Offshore Accident?
Working offshore is important and satisfying work, but we all know it can be dangerous. Offshore injuries happen when companies don’t take the time to:
• maintain equipment
• properly train employees
• or keep premises free of hazards
Unfortunately, maritime workers are frequently injured all along the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River while working on platforms, tugboats, shrimp boats, barges, trawlers, crew boats, jack-up rigs, and other vessels.
Preventable injuries happen during diving operations, basket transfers, line handling, slip-and-falls, equipment failures, fires, vessel collisions, and explosions. Sadly, offshore and maritime accidents can often lead to critical injuries and even death.
What to Do After an Offshore Accident
If you or a loved one has sustained an offshore injury from an offshore accident in New Orleans, it’s essential to be fully informed of what to do and avoid.
While you may be legally entitled to receive compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain, and suffering, your actions can affect the outcome of your claim. Any mishandling can result in a negative outcome, including something as severe as the dismissal of your case.
After an accident, what usually happens is that your maritime industry employers will begin an investigation immediately and notify their insurance provider.
In most cases, this happens even before you file a claim. Since maritime employers have a well-prepared legal team and extensive resources, they will be fully prepared to minimize the value of your claim.
And all too often, offshore workers are pressured to accept a low settlement. That being said, here’s what you’ll need to do after a maritime accident to protect your rights for compensation.
1. Fill out an offshore accident report
If you are hurt and experiencing pain, it’s recommended to immediately report the injury to your supervisor.
After that, you should fill out an accident report explaining how the accident occurred. While it is always best to report an accident immediately, sometimes pain doesn’t start right after an accident and may take a couple of days to set in.
In that situation, you should still report it to your supervisor as soon as your symptoms begin.
2. Speak with all witnesses and fellow employees
This can make a tremendous difference in your claim for compensation later. It is always important to talk to your co-employees about what happened, including how your accident occurred and how you felt afterward.
In some cases, injuries can be quite severe that you may never return to that vessel gain. In such a case, your co-employees may be the ones who have photographs of the accident scene and have the best knowledge of the conditions that led to your injury.
3. Seek medical attention as soon as possible
You should request medical attention right away. A maritime company may provide a doctor to examine you, but it’s important to insist on getting medical services from a professional doctor you trust.
The doctor chosen by the company may not always have your best interest at heart, as they’re being paid by your bosses.
4. Consult with an offshore attorney before signing documents that could give up rights that you may have
Until you consult with an experienced New Orleans offshore injury attorney, you should avoid signing documents that could give up rights.
Companies will often try to get injured workers to agree that the company doctor is the employee’s chosen doctor and may attempt to get employees to settle their claims unfairly given the risk that you could harm your case and decrease your rights.
The best course of action is to get in touch with an experienced offshore injury lawyer immediately.
Common Offshore Injuries
The maritime sector exposes offshore workers to a range of hazards, including:
Poor safety conditions on the decks of vessels and sudden unexpected movements may fail to protect workers from falling off ladders, slipping on wet surfaces, or sustaining injuries from moving heavy equipment, all of which can result in severe and debilitating injuries.
Oil Rig and Platform Injuries
Oil Rigs are complex equipment and inexperienced workers can pose risks for serious hazards to offshore workers and greatly raises the likelihood of an accident occurring on the job site. A hazardous oil rig can cause devastating events, including oil rig explosions and fires, dredging accidents.
Offshore Explosions and Fires
The risk of a fire or an explosion offshore is significant due to the combustible materials that are used in offshore operations and pressurized pipelines and other appurtenances found offshore.
Maritime injuries can be debilitating to accident victims. Workers who have experienced the devastating consequences of an explosion, a fire, or other accidents should seek the legal help of an offshore injury law firm.
A Worker’s Rights When Hurt Offshore
When an offshore worker sustains a maritime injury from an accident, they may wonder what their rights are following the incident.
If your employer is pushing injured employees for a quick return to work and trying to minimize liability in the accident, maritime workers can assert the following rights:
Independent Medical Care
Some companies persuade injured offshore employees to seek medical attention from employer-affiliated medical practitioners. These workers, however, have the legal right to go to a hospital or doctor of their choice.
Achieve a Full Recovery
A tactic used by employers, and is often seen in offshore injury cases, is pushing employees to go back to work as quickly as possible. Companies may put seriously injured workers on light duty or make them feel like they could lose their jobs if they don’t go back to their posts as soon as possible. These maritime employees have the legal right to recuperate and heal under the care and attention of a medical professional.
Obtain Legal Representation from experienced maritime lawyers
The rights of maritime workers are not limited to medical care. They can also seek the assistance of an offshore injury law firm that has the experience and understands maritime law.
Some employers may attempt to get their workers to admit fault or say yes to a quick settlement. Injured maritime employees have the right to hire a trusted offshore injury lawyer to step in and deal with their company’s maritime lawyers or other representatives. Rather than say anything, they can approach a trusted offshore injury lawyer for guidance on their situation.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing an Offshore Claim for Compensation?
Whether your claim falls under the Jones Act or maritime law, you can pursue Jones Act claims, Maintenance and Cure claims, and Seaworthiness claims. Generally, you have 3 years from the date of the accident to file a claim, but it’s best to do it as soon as possible to get the compensation you deserve. Also, always make sure you work with an experienced and trusted New Orleans offshore injury lawyer.”
Working offshore is often dangerous, therefore, offshore and maritime workers are protected by powerful laws that provide them with ways to be compensated for their injuries:
Jones Act Claims
The Jones Act (sometimes known as the Merchant Marine Act) workers who qualify as “seamen” to pursue claims against their employers are not available to most workers.
To qualify as a seaman, an employee must have been performing activities that directly relate to the operation of a vessel. This includes workers who operate, load or maintain a ship or its cargo handling equipment.
The general maritime law did not allow seamen to pursue negligence claims against their employers. Correcting this problem, the Jones Act made the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), which gave railroad workers a cause of action against their employers, applicable to seamen. Now, under the Jones Act, injured seamen have claims against their employers for negligence (including for injuries caused by the negligence of a co-employee).
Maintenance and Cure Claims
Seamen are also entitled to “maintenance” (payments for day-to-day living expenses) and “cure” (payments for medical expenses) from their employers.
Seamen may also pursue unseaworthiness claims against the vessel owner or operator (even if the owner or operator wasn’t their employer) if a condition on the vessel causes injury.
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act Claims (LHWCA)
Even if an injured maritime worker does not qualify for seaman status, he or she may still be able to pursue a claim for benefits (such as medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation expenses) under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
General Maritime Law Claims
Maritime law protects people who are hurt in offshore accidents, in addition to offshore workers.
Determining if a worker qualifies for seaman status or if he or she is entitled to compensation under the LHWCA can be complicated.
Making matters even more complicated, an injured worker can still bring claims against third parties (such as equipment manufacturers) for his or her injuries. Because of these difficulties, you should always check with a Louisiana offshore injury lawyer to fully understand your rights.
What Is the Usual Fee for Offshore Injury Lawyers?
There is no charge for you to discuss your case. If I decide to accept the representation, we will then come up with a fee arrangement.
The most common fee structure in a personal injury case and other plaintiff litigation is a contingent fee. Meaning, the client pays nothing unless money is recovered (either through a settlement or a trial verdict). Assuming there is a recovery, I will take a percentage of that as a contingent fee. The law firm will also be reimbursed for any litigation costs spent during the case (such as filing fees, investigation costs, expert costs, and deposition fees). But, if there is no recovery, then the client owes nothing.
Representing Offshore and Maritime Workers in Louisiana
If you or a loved one have been injured while working offshore, call The Mahone Firm at (504) 564-7342 for a free consultation and so we can talk about your offshore injury case with an experienced Louisiana offshore injury lawyer.
Or, click here for answers to some personal injury law questions commonly asked of New Orleans offshore injury lawyers.