Many offshore workers that live in Texas are uncertain of their rights when it comes to an injury, and this means they can be taken advantage of quite easily by their employers if they are injured on the job.
As an offshore worker, you have a number of rights that are designed to protect you if you are injured. These laws apply to anyone working offshore, such as those working on an oil rig, a dredge, or a tanker..
If you have been involved in an accident while you were carrying out your role as an offshore worker, it is always a smart idea to consult with an offshore injury lawyer about your rights and options. There are a number of complicated laws, statutes, and acts that may apply, and some of these laws are over a century old. This means understanding their application can be difficult, even for an experienced attorney.
By seeking legal representation in your offshore injury case from a maritime attorney here at Abraham Watkins, you ensure that you have an experienced advocate working to protect your rights and ensure you receive fair and just treatment. We have worked with numerousmaritime workers who have suffered offshore injuries, helping them pursue fair compensation.
Call us today at 713-535-9319 to schedule a free sit-down meeting, case evaluation, and consultation.
Damages You Can Claim Through Maritime Law
Under maritime laws, which are some of the oldest laws still applicable in the United States, you have a number of rights. A maritime injury lawyer will be able to explain these to you and will evaluate your case so that you can understand where you stand.
Following an offshore accident, you have the right to:
Representation from an Offshore Injury Attorney
You have the full right to obtain legal representation from a skilled attorney when you have been injured. Your employer may convince you everything can be handled in-house but even if you do not plan to file a personal injury case against them, you should still have representation to ensure your rights are protected.
Personal Choice of Medical Provider
You have the right to choose whatever medical provider you wish to treat your injuries and carry out any medical assessments. You do not have to use a company-approved or insurance-approved doctor.
Maintenance and Cure
If you are a seaman injured on the job,have the right to receive maintenance and cure.. This covers you for your living expenses and medical bills while you recover and receive treatment. There is a lower burden of proof for these payments, which means you will not have to prove your employer acted negligently.
One of the rights you have is the right to medical care covered by your employer, the vessel owner or its operator. You should never have to pay your own medical costs when you have been injured while working.
Damages You Can Claim Through a Personal Injury Case
If the maintenance and cure costs your employer offers you are not sufficient enough to cover all of your damages, and the accident occurred because of their negligence, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against them. This may allow you to pursue:
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages are designed to compensate a victim for what they have been through. This includes the physical pain you have been in, and may still be in, and any physiological trauma that you have suffered.
Punitive damages can only be awarded by a Judge and are usually awarded when the Judge finds that the at-fault party acted with gross negligence or in a malicious manner. These are awarded to punish that party and to make an example of them for their behavior.
Maritime Laws and Acts
The protections offered to maritime workers are laid out in a set of laws called maritime or admiralty law. These are federal laws and this means that federal courts typically enforce them.
The Doctrine of Unseaworthiness
The Doctrine of Unseaworthiness is a maritime law concept that imposes an absolute duty on the vessel owner or operator to provide seamen with a seaworthy ship. The definition of unseaworthiness is quite broad under the maritime law. The vessel must be fit for its intended purpose, if any part of the vessel is not in reasonable shape and it causes your injury you are entitled to compensation. Unseaworthiness extends to the equipment of the vessel and even the vessel’ crew. If the vessel crew is short staffed or untrained, the owner could be liable under the Doctrine of Unseaworthiness.
The Jones Act
Although injured seamen generally have no right to trial by jury in admiralty cases; the Jones Act permits jury trials for personal injury claims brought by a seaman under the “Savings to Suitors’ clause. When this clause applies, an injured seaman can present their claims to a jury in state court.. In comparison to a personal injury case, the burden of proof is much lower when claiming under the Jones Act. If it can be proven that the employer was even partly at fault for the accident, then compensation should be awarded under the Jones Act.
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
This act allows for longshore and harbor workers to recover for injuries and wrongful death on the job.
- Longshore workers.
- Harbor workers.
- Dock workers.
- Ship repairers.
- Some land-based workers.
Unlike the Jones Act, negligence does not need to be the cause of the injury or illness.
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
This act was enacted in 1953 and it extends the protections of the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act to those that work on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States, including the U.S. Pacific Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. This act allows those workers to receive compensation for injuries and wrongful death.
Maintenance and Cure
Maintenance and cure is a legal principle that requires employers to provide medical care and living expenses to injured seamen and offshore workers. This principle applies to any maritime worker who is injured or falls ill while performing their duties, even if the injury or illness is not related to their work. Under maritime law, employers are obligated to pay for any medical care, including hospital expenses, that the worker needs until they are fully recovered. Additionally, employers must provide a living allowance to cover food and lodging expenses until the worker is able to return to their normal duties.
Maintenance and cure are important rights for seamen, as they are often employed in hazardous conditions, and may not be able to access medical care or other forms of financial assistance if they become injured or ill.
Do I Need an Offshore Injury Lawyer in Texas?
Carrying out an investigation following an offshore accident is difficult, and this makes offshore accident cases more complicated compared to normal personal injury cases. Vessel owners will fight accusations fiercely because they do not wish to be liable for the injuries of their workers.
Because workers are entitled to maintenance and cure under general maritime law following most offshore accidents, it is a common tactic for employers who know they are at fault to offer a settlement to their workers that does not accurately represent their injuries and damages. This often works because workers have not spoken to offshore injury lawyers about their rights. Once you have accepted their settlement, you forgo the right to pursue further compensation. This means if you accept an offer that is too low, you could be left out of pocket.
If you do not obtain legal representation, it can be difficult to fight a successful case against your employer. When you pursue your case with a skilled and experienced maritime injury attorney, your chances are much better. An attorney that has experience handling offshore injury cases will have the resources to carry out a full-blown, independent investigation of the accident and will be able to tailor a bespoke approach to your case.
What Damages Can I Recover If I Was Injured Offshore
An experienced offshore injury lawyer will have full knowledge of the federal law that dictates the rights given to offshore workers. Depending on the facts and applicable law, an injured worker may be entitled to compensation for maintenance and cure, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and even punitive damages.
Offshore workers from Texas face serious threats and dangers every day simply by going to work. The likelihood of suffering an offshore injury is high, whether it is due to an oil spill, improperly maintained equipment, untrained crew, chemical exposure, or fires. It is important that these workers understand their rights and how they can recover damages for any harm that they have suffered.
At Abraham Watkins, our experienced maritime lawyers have been helping clients claim compensation for offshore injuries for many years. We take a client-focused, compassionate approach to all injury claims, and our goal is to ensure that our clients feel more confident navigating through the complex laws that surround maritime workers.
Our attorneys excel at building a strong attorney-client relationship, a skill gained through our years of practice and have helped many maritime clients get favorable outcomes in their cases. We offer a free consultation with an offshore injury lawyer with no strings attached.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 713-535-9319.
Schedule A Free Consultation Today.
If you have additional questions about your accident or injuries – or if you wish to speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options – please complete our online contact form or call our Houston law office at 888-261-8831 or 713-244-5486.
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