If you were injured in an offshore oil accident, you may face a long recovery—or even permanent disability—with limited opportunity to work and provide for your family. On top of your financial strain, you may be suffering from pain and distress. The company you worked for owes you compensation for the harm you suffered.
Many oil rig workers are injured or killed each year. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which reports offshore fatality statistics, six offshore workers died and 160 were injured in 2020.
Although those numbers are disturbing, they do not show the whole picture. New Orleans Public Radio reported, “an investigation by Drilled News and Southerly found that the number of offshore worker deaths is being undercounted by the agency. Inconsistent and missing data, as well as loopholes that allow some fatalities to go unreported, make the offshore industry appear safer than it really is.”
The oil industry is not always fair to workers. Filing a personal injury lawsuit after an oil rig accident requires you to go up against big oil lawyers. It can feel intimidating, so you need an experienced Houston maritime lawyer on your side.
At Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP, our knowledgeable maritime lawyers fight for injured oil workers. We know the Houston oil industry well, and we understand the tactics oil companies may use to limit your compensation.
You owe it to yourself to hire a skilled attorney who will help you recover the money you need. Contact us for more information on how we can assist with your claim. Read on to learn more about your legal options after an offshore injury.
What Are Offshore Hazards?
Workers can sustain injuries from a variety of hazardous conditions on offshore oil rigs. Accidents often result from these dangers:
- Slippery surfaces,
- Chemical leaks,
- Falling equipment,
- Faulty machinery, or
- Rough seas or wind.
Many hazardous conditions can be prevented by proper training, inspections, and maintenance. When an employer fails to provide a safe work environment, they can be liable for the harm this causes their employees.
How Are Workers Injured?
Offshore workers can suffer life-altering injuries due to any of the hazards mentioned above. Oil rig hazards may result in the following injuries:
- Broken bones,
- Concussions and brain injuries,
- Spinal cord damage,
- Lacerations, or
- Crushed or severed limbs.
These injuries can leave an employee in severe pain and unable to work and provide for their families. Sadly, oil rig accidents also kill workers each year. If your loved one was killed on the job, you may be able to sue for the harm you have suffered.
What Compensation Is Available?
The compensation available after an offshore accident depends on the circumstances surrounding the situation. To determine what law governs your claim, our offshore accident lawyers ask these questions:
- Were you working offshore?
- Were you an employee of the company?
- Were you on a moveable vessel?
- Was your employer negligent?
Depending on your answers to these questions, several maritime laws may apply to your claim.
General maritime law provides injured workers with payment called “maintenance and cure.” This consists of payment for medical expenses and a limited daily stipend.
The Jones Act
If you were working on a moveable vessel offshore, you may be eligible to file a Jones Act claim. The Jones Act allows you to sue your employer for negligence. Even if you are not sure whether your employer was negligent, contact our offshore injury attorneys to share the details of your experience.
Limited negligent actions by your employer are enough for the Jones Act to apply. If this law applies, your payout could be significant because the Jones Act allows you to sue for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
If you were working on a dock, pier, or adjacent area, the Jones Act probably will not apply. However, another law, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), gives you an avenue for compensation. The LHWCA pays your medical bills, disability benefits, and job retraining if you cannot return to your old job.
What Should You Do After an Offshore Accident?
When you experience an offshore accident, your priority should be getting medical treatment. In a remote offshore location, seeking medical care can be difficult. It may require a medical helicopter airlifting you to the nearest hospital, or you may face medical treatment in a foreign country where you do not understand the language. Try to request transfer to a U.S. hospital as soon as you are medically stable.
If you do not face a medical emergency, take these steps after your accident:
- Take photos of the accident scene;
- Report your accident to a supervisor;
- Write down the names and contact information of witnesses;
- Seek medical treatment;
- Save medical records and bills; and
- Contact a maritime attorney.
While you recover from your accident, you may be in pain and facing expensive medical bills. An offshore accident lawyer can help lift a burden from your shoulders by taking over negotiations with the insurance company and making sure you get the necessary treatment.
Call a Knowledgeable Houston Offshore Injury Attorney
After your offshore accident, you should contact a skilled maritime injury lawyer. At Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP, our offshore injury attorneys help injured workers pursue the compensation they deserve. We treat clients with respect, show compassion, and fight big oil companies for the money you need.
Our attorneys know maritime law, which distinguishes us from a generic personal injury law firm. Maritime law is complex, so it is beneficial to hire attorneys with extensive knowledge and experience with offshore injury cases. Instead of simply searching online for a phrase like, “maritime lawyer near me,” contact a law firm with experience in successfully representing injured oil workers.
We offer a free consultation and work on contingency, making excellent legal representation available to all injured workers regardless of your ability to pay. Contact us today to get started on your offshore oil injury claim.