Offshore workers and maritime employees perform vital duties in hazardous work conditions day-in and day-out. As a result, they are at an increased risk of suffering a personal injury while on-the-job.
The injuries can be physically discapacitating if not outright deadly. To make matters worse, maritime workers are usually not protected by the same workers' compensation systems provide benefits for most injured workers.
An offshore accident lawyer experienced in maritime law can help victims fight for the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one suffered personal injuries in any type of maritime or offshore accident, contact our team today for a free consultation with an offshore injury lawyer and learn more about your legal options.
Due to their close relation to the ocean, the maritime and offshore industries can seem like the same thing. Indeed, throughout the rest of the content on this informational page, we will use the terms interchangeably.
Nevertheless, these two categories are composed of different professions. We provide some examples below.
The term offshore worker is generally used to refer to individuals who work at/on:
Maritime workers are persons who can usually be found working on a moving or seafaring vessel. These can include:
Within the category of maritime workers, there are two additional subcategories. One of these categories is that of "seamen," while the second category is a catch-all for maritime workers who are not seamen.
It is important to differentiate these two subcategories because depending on which subgroup a maritime worker belongs to determines specifically which maritime law can help them achieve compensation when offshore injuries occur.
When offshore workers suffer injuries due to the nature of their occupation, it goes without saying that they should be entitled to some form of workers' compensation that covers, at a minimum, their medical expenses and lost wages.
On one hand, the workers' compensation systems that provide benefits to employees in less hazardous lines of work, such as federal and state-level programs, generally do not apply to maritime workers. On the other hand, there are still laws in place which protect the victims of offshore accidents and maritime injuries.
If you've suffered a severe maritime injury or been involved in an offshore accident and are unsure of which type of compensation you're entitled to, we highly suggest that you contact our support team before continuing on this page. Every offshore injury incident is different from the last as well as the next, and it often requires the detailed analysis of a legal professional to determine exactly which rights an injured worker can leverage for their benefit.
Next, we discuss the major legal mandates which maritime injury lawyers will often use to build a case for compensation of an offshore injury victim.
The Jones Act is one of the major federal laws that protect individuals who suffer an offshore injury. For this reason, we've covered it exclusively on the following page.
The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, AKA the Longshore Act, is often seen as a parallel to regular workers' comp systems. Yet, there are some important differences that make the Longshore Act more beneficial than standard workers' comp. Most would consider these improved benefits appropriate, given the constant danger that most offshore employees face on a day-to-day basis.
Under the LHWCA, an injured seaman is entitled to 66% of their average weekly wage in total temporary disability (TTD) benefits. Additionally, they may also be compensated for temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability, and permanent total disability benefits.
Additionally, thanks to the Longshore Act, the entirety of a victim's medical expenses may be covered. This can include indirect expenses such as the cost of transportation to the medical facility, as well as more direct expenses such as physical therapy.
The DOHSA, or the Death On The High Seas Act, was first established in the year 1920 to support the families of seamen who lost their lives in international waters. Under this law, a number of the dependents of a deceased maritime worker can seek damages from the owner of the vessel on which the seaman was working.
For a DOHSA claim to be successful, it must be established that negligence on behalf of the employer ultimately caused an accident that then led to the tragedy.
The most common argument for negligence is that of unseaworthiness. Seaworthiness speaks to a boat that is not only able to navigate effectively and without sinking, but one which does not put the health and well-being of its crew at risk. If this latter characteristic is not met, then the vessel may be deemed unseaworthy and the owner found negligent if the vessel's state causes an injury or death.
Given the varied nature of the work duties completed by offshore workers, the accidents that can result in these industries are equally varied. Some of the most common types include:
As you may be able to gather from the list above, offshore accidents can be quite diverse. Correspondingly, the types of offshore injuries that can manifest are also quite mixed. Here are some of the ones that our offshore injury lawyers have encountered in the past.
More than just a couple of the types of offshore accidents listed above can lead to head injuries; falling objects and slip and falls are only some of the most prominent.
Suffering a head injury in any setting is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. When it occurs on the high seas, the risk of permanent disability and death are even more pronounced. This is because head injuries often required specialized medical treatment that is rarely available on a boat or other offshore work environment.
Maritime and offshore work often requires the assistance of heavy machinery. While such tools can make easy work of difficult tasks due to the immense amount of power they possess, this same power can cause serious injuries in the blink of an eye.
Whether it's due to being impacted by heavy machinery or impinged between the machine and some other static structure, bone fractures and limb amputations are some of the most common ailments seen in persons injured offshore.
Burn injuries are not uncommon in individuals who work on oil rigs, jack-up rigs, and even sea wells. This is due to the fact the entire goal of the structure on which the person works is to extract flammable and often toxic substances from the seafloor.
If any kind of mistake is made, or if the correct procedure is not followed, powerful explosions can take place. Subsequently, grave skin burns can result. As with head injuries, such burns can become deadly due to the lack of adequate medical equipment required to properly treat such severe injuries.
Repetitive motion injuries can afflict offshore and maritime workers just as much as any other individual who performs work of a physical nature.
Constant lifting, pushing, pulling, and other movements can wear down the human body. Even if the action is not particularly strenuous when completed once, the stress on the body can add up if it is done for years on end.
While the information provided on this page was researched and is intended to serve informational purposes, it should not be taken as legal advice. Most importantly, you should not allow your own comprehension of the material on this page to prevent you from seeking legal help.
Our experienced offshore injury lawyers are available to speak with you about your case if you were injured offshore. Indeed, lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages may be covered by a well-established legal claim. Unfortunately, the legal process can be complicated and quite difficult to navigate.
By contacting an offshore injury lawyer, you can trust that your claim is being handled by professionals. Meanwhile, you can concentrate on what's truly important - your own recovery.
Contact us today via our 24/7 helpline or the form on this page and get the legal answers you seek. It's completely free, and once you've obtained the information you need, you're under no obligation to retain our services.
Maritime work is encountered throughout the United States. Naturally, geographical location as well as the presence of highly sought-after natural resources has a significant impact on the number of maritime jobs available in each state.
Below, we provide a shortlist of states and the size of the domestic maritime industry within each.
While not a state, Puerto Rico also boasts a maritime industry surpassing $1 billion in revenues each year.