If you have been injured while working offshore, you may be worried that you do not have the same right to seek monetary compensation as land-based workers would. Thankfully, this is almost always not true – injured offshore workers can usually still recover damages for injuries and complications they have sustained while working offshore.
An offshore accident will not be subject to the normal personal injury claim laws in Texas. Instead, it will be governed by maritime law and a number of federal law statutes and acts. This can make the process of recovering compensation complex. However, the offshore injury lawyer team here at Abraham Watkins has a wealth of experience and are ready to seek maximum compensation for your offshore injury.
Let an experienced offshore injury lawyer handle the complexities of your legal process. Call Abraham Watkins for a free consultation today at 713-535-9319.
You Have The Right to Legal Assistance
The most important answer to ‘What are my rights if I have been injured while working offshore?’ is that you have always had the right to seek legal assistance – whether that is for advice, to file a claim against your employer to recover damages, or to pursue a civil suit for compensation for your offshore injuries.
Hiring an offshore injury lawyer will help offshore employees navigate the complexities of the various acts and statutes covered under maritime law. Here at Abraham Watkins, helping injured maritime workers to figure out the best approach to maximizing their compensation and ensuring financial justice is reached is at the heart of what we do.
You Likely Have The Right to Choose How Your Medical Care Is Handled
In many situations, an injured offshore worker may be able to benefit from the obligation of vessel owners to provide medical treatment for an offshore injury. In this situation, the injured worker should not have to pay medical expenses for their care – nor can they be lawfully abandoned if they have been injured or fallen ill, even if the injury was their fault.
However, it is possible that accepting this care may mean the injured offshore worker is unable to access the same level of compensation rights. Even if there is an avenue to gain compensation, being treated by the employer’s doctor or a doctor employed by an insurance company can significantly impact injured workers’ ability to claim full compensation for their injuries.
Speaking to an experienced offshore injury lawyer is crucial. Our law firm can help you determine the best option for you under maritime laws and provide detail on the pros and cons of all your options.
The Right To Maintenance And Cure
Federal maritime law provides offshore workers with their version of workers’ compensation rights, known as maintenance and cure. Those employed in the maritime industry must be compensated if injured offshore – often even if the accident was their own fault.
This compensation may include considerations, including the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and other bills – such as those relating to your mortgage, rent, or utility bills. Maintenance and cure should be given until injured maritime workers reach maximum medical improvement.
However, just like with workers’ compensation, it is not guaranteed that your employer will offer you favorable maintenance and cure terms. It is possible that you could get a better deal with a different approach or that you could negotiate with your employer for a better deal. Our legal representation will help you determine whether the maintenance and cure deal you have been offered is your best option.
Your Rights Under The Merchant Marine Act
The Merchant Marine Act, also known as the Jones Act, ensures all seamen have the right to seek compensation by extending the Federal Employer’s Liability Act to cover them.
Similar to the way a personal injury claim will work in mainland Texas, the Jones Act requires injured seamen to demonstrate that the employer was at least partially responsible for the injuries they sustained. However, the good news is that the burden of proof for claims made under the Jones Act is usually lower than more commonplace personal injury claims.
Under the Jones Act, injured crew members can recover compensation for lost wages, impacted future earnings, medical expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more. To find out how this and other maritime laws directly affect your case, contact us today for a free consultation.
Your Rights Under The Longshore And Harbor Workers Compensation Act
One of the main limiting factors of the Jones Act is that it only applies to injured seamen, not other offshore workers. Thankfully, The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act extends personal injury coverage under maritime law to harbor workers, longshore workers, dock workers, ship repairers, shipbreakers, and others who work offshore.
Just like the Jones Act, this act seeks to protect workers by allowing them to claim for any offshore injury that was at least partially the fault of their employer. The main difference is that injured workers are required to report their injuries to their employer within a window of 30 days to make a claim.
Your Rights Under The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
This act further extends the coverage of the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act to cover offshore workers who are stationed on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States, which includes parts of the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. Pacific Coast. This area is where many gas workers are stationed, and it allows them rights if they are injured offshore in a way similar to the two sections above.
However, there are limitations to which types of offshore work are covered by this act. Offshore injury cases will not be covered if a person is employed by the government – whether that is a state government, the federal government, or a foreign government.
Injured Maritime Workers Should Hire An Offshore Injury Lawyer As Soon As Possible
If you have suffered injuries or a serious accident while working offshore due to the wrongful act of another, whether on an oil rig or as a crew member on the high seas, you could be entitled to monetary reparations for your injuries and the complications they have caused you under maritime law. This could include remuneration for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and more.
The problem with offshore injury cases is that maritime law is often exceedingly complex. Your best route to financial justice may look very different depending on the circumstances of your accident, who your employer is, what job you do, and where your accident occurred.
That is why here at Abraham Watkins, we work on an individual basis to ensure that the specific situations of our injured clients are fully considered. It may make more sense for you to let your employer cover your medical bills or to pay them yourself and raise a claim. We will use our wealth of experience, knowledge, and skill to help you determine which is the best path for you.
Let us figure out the best path available to you under general maritime law. Call Abraham Watkins today for a free consultation at 713-535-9319.