An Offshore Injury Poses a Unique Set of Legal Challenges. Here’s How a Houston Based Injury Lawyer Could Help You With Such an Injury.
On the national scale, working as a seaman, a dockworker or even an oil and gas industry employee is a job rife with dangers and risks in rough working conditions.
With fatality rates seven times higher than any other workers in the U.S., the laws governing offshore injuries have their own unique set of challenges.
That’s why having an offshore injury lawyer is critical to getting the right compensation if you’re the victim of an offshore injury.
If you’re unfamiliar with how offshore injuries look like in the eyes of the law, you’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading for our full breakdown of offshore injuries and why you need to have an offshore injury lawyer.
What Is an Offshore Injury?
Before jumping straight to the different types of offshore injury cases, let’s start with covering what actually qualifies as an offshore injury.
In the simplest of terms, an offshore injury is one that happens in a variety of water bodies. Think of the multitude of places on the U.S. coast, waterways, or even on the high sea.
Generally, victims of offshore injuries will get injured (or die) on oil rigs, harbors, ships, docks, or any other sort of maritime vessels.
In addition, these injuries can be sustained due to a plethora of neglectful acts. For instance, things like poorly maintained equipment, reckless behavior, supervisor error, dangerous weather conditions, and malicious actions can all lead to an offshore injury.
These injuries can range from broken bones and burns, to head injuries, served limbs and death.
Under the maritime common law, you may receive compensation to cover your medical bills and a small part of your living expenses. Yet, it’s barely a drop in the bucket due to the life style change, disability and how it affects your daily function, this directly affects how much you can recover by filing a personal injury lawsuit for better results.
Offshore Injury Lawyer: Identifying Your Type of Offshore Injury Case
When it comes to the maritime laws governing maritime workers, every case is unique in its situation, the role of the victim, and where the accident took place.
An experienced offshore injury lawyer will be able to determine which laws fit your case, so they can pursue the biggest compensation for your injury.
Here are the main laws that might cover your offshore injury.
The Jones Act
This law tackles semi-submersible platforms that you’ll see commonly used in the offshore oil and gas industry.
Any worker on these platform has a chance at qualifying as a Jones Act seaman, due to these platforms’ ability to navigate in the water. In addition, workers do perform services that can be seen as in furtherance of the vessel’s mission.
What’s great about the Jones Act is its ability to grant seamen the right to sue their employers for their injuries. They can get enough compensation to cover the damages, which include medical expenses, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.
In order for your case to be considered under the Jones Act, the injured worker will have to establish that their employer acted negligently, which directly caused the injury.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
This act (acronym LHWCA) will provide compensation for maritime workers who mainly work on docks, wharves, piers, and shipyards, unlike the Jones Act that mainly focuses on seamen.
LHWCA can cover a plethora of maritime workers like longshoremen, harbor workers of all stripes, and shipbuilders.
Furthermore, this act helps workers recover these injury compensations, regardless of who’s at fault for the injury:
- Two-thirds of the injured worker’s weekly wage
- Offshore injury medical treatment
- Rehabilitation expenses
In extreme cases, if the injury leads to the worker’s death, then the LHWCA can help a surviving spouse and children receive wrongful death benefits.
Do keep in mind that the act automatically sets the spouse’s wrongful death benefit at 50% of the victim’s average wage, with an added 16% for the victim’s children.
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) was established to fill in the gaps left by the Jones Act and the LHWCA.
The act covers “all submerged lands lying seaward of State coastal waters (3 miles offshore) which are under U.S. jurisdiction.” Therefore, the act covers all workers on an outer continental shelf, like:
- Harbor workers
- Ship repairers
- Longshoremen on floating docks
- Oil rig workers
- Workers servicing offshore wind energy turbines
Moreover, if your case is considered under the OCSLA, then you might receive compensation to cover medical treatment for your injury, rehabilitation expenses, and even disability payments.
The Death on the High Seas Act
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) is a bit more specialized in scope than the previous acts we’ve covered.
When it comes to DOHSA, it applies when the injured victim’s death is caused due to a wrongful act that occurred on the high seas “beyond three nautical miles from the shore of the United States.”
Basically, this act enables a personal representative of the deceased to file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s spouse, child, parent, or dependent relative.
In addition, you’ll find that DOHSA limits compensation to pecuniary damages. These include loss of services, loss of support, loss of inheritance, and funeral expenses.
Unfortunately, DOHSA doesn’t cover other expenses like pain and suffering, loss of care, and loss of companionship.
Offshore Injury Lawyer to the Rescue
After taking this quick dive into the sheer complexities of maritime law, we hope that you’ve got a better understanding of the intricacies required to handle an offshore injury case with grace.
Offshore injury lawyers specialize in maritime law and will work with you to achieve the compensation that you deserve.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between land-based personal injury or wrongful death claims. That’s why you’ll need to specifically have an offshore injury lawyer on hand to handle your case.
If you have any questions or concerns, make sure to contact us for your free consultation. We’d be delighted to help you.
Before you go, check out our blog for all the information and tips you might need. We cover a variety of topics from the steps you need to take following a car accident, to learning how to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.