Maritime laws are different from laws for workers on land, and it’s common for maritime laws to operate under different parameters. You will likely need the help of a maritime lawyer who has specialized in maritime and offshore injuries to help you get the compensation you deserve as an oil and gas worker.
Four Ways a Specialized Maritime Lawyer Can Help You.
1. Gather Evidence
You may need the help of maritime and offshore injury lawyers in Houston to gather evidence relevant to your case. The evidence related to your case will look different for different circumstances.
For example, if you were injured in an explosion, then it’s important to discover the cause of the explosion. If you’re injured in a fall or by dangerous equipment, then the evidence for your case will need to illuminate the negligence that contributed to your accident and injury.
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2. Get Worker’s Compensation
You may need the help of a maritime lawyer if your employer is not providing worker’s compensation insurance for your injuries. Worker’s compensation should make up for lost wages and medical bills, including treatment you may need in the future. If your employer is refusing to provide worker’s compensation for your maritime or offshore injury, then you will need the assistant assistance of a lawyer to advocate for your rights.
Your lawyer will be able to negotiate with your employer or the worker’s compensation insurance company and provide evidence about how your injury occurred and why you deserve compensation. You may also need a lawyer if you have lost your job as a result of your accident or injury.
3. Prove Negligence
Although it’s a well-known fact that working on offshore oil rigs can be a dangerous occupation, this does not mean that any negligence involved in your case should be overlooked. Many people are injured by negligence who would have not been injured if the employer had maintained normal safety protocols outlined by OSHA. If your injury is related to any negligence from your employer, then your compensation and settlement offer should reflect that.
4. Wrongful Death
If your loved one was severely injured or lost their life as a result of a maritime or offshore injury, then your family may be entitled to wrongful death compensation. This is particularly common for gas and explosion injuries, as well as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries that result in death. Wrongful death compensation can be applied to funeral expenses, and should also make up for the loss of wages that would support a spouse or family.
What Are Common Maritime and Offshore Injuries?
Maritime and offshore injuries generally occur on oil rigs, natural gas wells, and support vessels that are used to travel to and from these rigs. Many of the most common accidents related to maritime accidents include falling objects, workers who were struck by cranes and heavy equipment, slip and falls, falling overboard, exposure to toxic chemicals, and exposure to extreme temperatures. Explosions can also be a cause of maritime and offshore injuries.
Some of the most common injuries related to these accidents can include burns, scars, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, crushed bones, lung damage, spinal cord injuries, or even the loss of limbs. Many injuries are permanently or temporarily disabling, which can have a negative impact on a worker’s ability to earn an income. Many of these accidents can also be fatal.
Laws That Protect Workers
Two specific laws can protect maritime workers when they are injured. The first is the Jones Act, which applies to workers on oil rigs or other vessels like drillships. The Jones Act dictates that injured crew members and offshore workers are entitled to file claims against their captains, ship owners, or employers if injuries are caused by negligence. For example, if the rig is not safe or not seaworthy, employees who are injured can sue their employers.
The other law that can protect maritime workers is the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. This particular act applies to workers who are stationed at stationary oil rings that have employers who offer state workers compensation plans. This act provides protection for workers who are hurt on the job or who contract illnesses offshore.
Why Are Maritime Laws Important?
Maritime laws are essential to protect the health and safety of offshore employees who may not otherwise be qualified for worker’s compensation since they do not work on state land. Texas owes roughly 25% of its yearly GDP to maritime and offshore work, so employees must have adequate protection for injuries.
If you are a maritime or offshore worker and you have been injured on the job, you are entitled to worker’s compensation and you may even be able to sue your employer for negligence. You will need the help of a maritime lawyer to gather evidence, negotiate a settlement on your behalf, and help you get worker’s compensation for your injuries.