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 working in a shipyard.

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 maritime injury attorney.

By seeking legal representation in your offshore injury case from an attorney here at Abraham Watkins, you ensure that you have an advocate working to protect your rights and ensure you receive fair and just treatment. We have worked with a number of maritime 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

You have the right to receive maintenance and cure when you have been injured offshore. This covers you for your living expenses, medical bills, and lost wages 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.

Medical Care

One of the rights you have is the right to medical care covered by your vessel owner or 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

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 enforce them. This applies to any accident that happens on the high seas or in “navigable waters”, which is defined as any body of water that allows trade between nations or states.

Merchant Marine Act

The Jones Act is one of the more established laws in admiralty law. This act provides the right to compensation to all seamen that suffer injuries in an offshore accident. If it can be proven that the employer was partly or fully at fault for the accident, then compensation should be awarded under the Jones Act. In comparison to a personal injury case, the burden of proof is much lower when claiming under the Jones Act.

Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

This act allows for longshore and harbor workers to claim under the same rights that seamen have under the Jones Act.

It covers:

  • Longshore workers.
  • Harbor workers.
  • Dock workers.
  • Shipbreakers.
  • Ship repairers.
  • Some land-based workers.

In order to claim under this act, workers have 30 days to report their injury to their employer and must prove that their injuries happened through the negligence of their employer, either through fault or partial fault.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

For those that work on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States, including the U.S. Pacific Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act protects oil and gas workers in the event of an accident.

Workers that are employed by the state are not entitled to claim under this act.

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 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 an important right for offshore workers and 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. As such, it is important for employers to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their employees. In addition, employers must also be aware of their legal obligations to provide maintenance and cure to their injured or ill employees.

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.

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, lack of safety equipment, 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 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.

Additional Questions?

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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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