Maritime workers aboard ships and vessels at sea are not the only people in this industry who take big risks and find themselves injured on the job. Offshore workers also face major risks and hazards on the job. If you work offshore on an oil rig or platform, you have a dangerous job. Accidents on these work sites are not uncommon, but they can be serious, even fatal.
If you have been injured on an offshore job site, you need an experienced offshore lawyer to help you make your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. There are many maritime laws and to navigate them takes knowledge and experience that only these specialized lawyers have. A professional with this specialized knowledge can guide you, represent you, prevent you from making mistakes, and help you get the money that will get you back on your feet.
Offshore Workers and Seamen
An offshore injury or accident could occur on offshore platforms and rigs, but it could also happen on a ship at sea. There are several different maritime laws that cover these various situations, and only an experienced lawyer can help you decide which law covers you and your situation. For instance, if you work on a platform or rig, you don’t qualify as a seaman, but you are covered by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). This law acts like a type of federal workers’ compensation and was created to cover those workers not qualifying as seamen or harbor workers.
If you do qualify as a seaman, which means you spend a significant portion of your working time on a vessel in navigation, you are covered by the Jones Act. An accident that occurs on your ship offshore that causes you to be injured qualifies you to recover damages through this law. Offshore accidents then may occur on continental shelf platforms, permanent structures, or moving ships. In either situation, you need a lawyer versed in the laws that apply to offshore accidents to help you navigate the system.
Types of Offshore Accidents and Injuries
Working offshore is dangerous and risky, and there are many different possible situations in which you could be injured or even killed. An offshore injury lawyer can help you with any of these situations. For instance, you may have been injured in an accident that cannot be blamed on anyone’s actions. You may have been caught in bad weather aboard your ship and thrown from a staircase that was in good working order. Your lawyer will help you figure out how you can get compensation, even though there is no negligence involved in the accident.
True accidents with no negligence are not that common. Unfortunately in most cases of offshore accidents, precautions taken by an employer could have prevented you from being hurt. For instance, your employer is responsible for making sure a ship and all of its equipment is in good working order, that safety equipment is available, and that all workers are trained to do their jobs. If an employer neglects to do something and that leads to an accident, he or she is negligent.
Whether your accident occurred on a vessel out at sea or on an offshore structure, you are entitled to compensation. This is true if the accident was truly an accident or if there was negligence involved. In either case, you need a good lawyer to help you decide what to do next and to determine under which law your particular type of offshore accident falls.
How an Offshore Lawyer Can Help You
In too many situations in which a maritime worker is injured on the job, the employer and insurance company tries to deny any compensation or tries to offer a settlement that is too low. This is the main reason that you need a lawyer to help you if you have been injured in an offshore accident. Your employer may try to offer you compensation immediately and ask you to sign something that will prevent you from suing later for more compensation. Settling for this is a mistake. Instead, turn to a lawyer to help you get what you really deserve.
Fighting an employer backed by a big insurance company isn’t easy. You have several maritime laws to back up your claims, but there are a lot of ways in which you can make a mistake when trying to get what you are owed. A lawyer will be able to help you decide which law covers you, how to file a claim, and what mistakes to avoid, such as missing the statute of limitations on filing.
A lawyer will also help you by representing you. Simply filing a claim is usually not enough to get your compensation. Your employer is likely to keep fighting that claim. You may need to go into arbitration or even to trial to win, and having an experienced offshore lawyer there to represent your interests gives you the best chance of getting compensation in the end.
Finding an Experienced Lawyer
If you are injured offshore, there are several things you need to do immediately: file an accident report with your employer, get medical treatment and keep the records, and find a good lawyer to help you. Finding the right lawyer is one of these three crucial things you need to do to ensure you end up with the compensation that will help you pay all your medical bills, cover your lost wages, and help you get back on your feet after the accident.
Look for a lawyer that specializes in maritime law and offshore injuries. Don’t settle for a personal injury lawyer or a workers’ compensation lawyer. These professionals are not necessarily versed in the maritime laws that apply to you. Only settle for a lawyer with specialized maritime knowledge and experience helping people like you get compensation from employers and insurance companies. Only by working with a lawyer like this will you ensure that you have done your best to get the money you need and deserve.