Commercial diving refers to professionals who perform underwater duties including pipeline repair, oil rig structure maintenance, bridge foundation inspection, and much more.
If these job duties were performed above the surface of the water, they'd be dangerous on their own. However, when they must be tackled underwater, sometimes hundreds of feet deep, the risks to the worker increase exponentially.
In the following article the Haggard Law Firm's maritime injury attorneys, who are experienced in seeking compensation for victims of commercial diving accidents, share additional insight.
Regrettably, straightforward statistics regarding the number of commercial diving accidents that occur each year are hard to find, if they exist at all. One would think that significant efforts would go towards tracking and mitigating these often-fatal commercial diving accidents, but it seems that the low number of such professionals has pushed this down the list of priorities.
Dated reports published by OSHA estimate that anywhere from 6 to 13 diving-related fatalities take place each year. On the other hand, more recent independent studies have estimated the number to be closer to 15 deaths per year. These include the four most common commercial diving sectors: offshore (oil rig & pipeline), inshore (bridge & pier construction/maintenance), shipping (barge inspection & repair), and wind farm diving.
While the statistics are not 100% concrete, the conclusion is clear - even when all safety precautions are taken, commercial diving remains extremely dangerous.
There are a series of hazards faced by all commercial divers when they engage in their profession. Naturally, most of these stem from the fact that specialized job duties must be performed underwater.
Correspondingly, a commercial diver has to be concerned with completing the job properly while reacting to changing aquatic conditions. During all of this, they must also be able to deal with equipment malfunctions and prevent themselves from suffering physical injuries.
Some of the most common hazards faced by commercial divers include:
When a commercial diver is injured or killed in the line of work, they themselves or surviving family members have the right to seek compensation. Yet, the law surrounding workers' compensation for commercial divers can be quite convoluted.
These professional divers are not protected by the ordinary states' workers comp system. In many cases, they must file Jones Act claims if they hope to recoup damages for their injuries. In other cases, they may have to seek damages directly from negligent parties, which can include their employer, supporting crewmembers, equipment manufacturers, or others. Ultimately, the specific circumstances surrounding an individual incident will directly dictate who can be held liable for a commercial diving accident and the resulting injuries.
When victims of commercial diving accidents are able to successfully secure injury compensation, it will usually be based on the direct damages they suffered. These may include all medical expenses, loss of income (while recovering), loss of potential income (if they become physically disabled), loss of consortium and enjoyment of life, pain & suffering, and more.
The types of damages for which a victim of a commercial diving accident may be compensated vary from case to case. What doesn't vary is the fact that seeking experienced legal representation can help victims and their loved ones achieve the maximum compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one have experienced the pain and trauma that a commercial diving accident can cause, we invite you to get in touch with our commercial diver accident attorneys today. Through a free case review, we can explain all of the legal options at your disposal. We can also answer any questions you may have. The Haggard Law Firm is here to help you stand up for your rights and fight for justice.