Working offshore is recognized as one of the most hazardous job environments. The maritime industry, while critical for global trade, presents unique challenges and risks due to the volatile nature of the sea, harsh weather conditions, the handling of heavy machinery, and the physical demands of the job. As a result, maritime workers are frequently exposed to a higher risk of injury compared to those in less inherently dangerous fields.
Despite safety measures in place, accidents still occur, sometimes with devastating outcomes. When such mishaps happen, it is crucial for workers to know their rights and the steps they need to take. Understanding these can help protect their interests and ensure they receive appropriate compensation for their injuries. Having a reputable Houston maritime lawyer by your side like those at Abraham Watkins can make a significant difference in navigating the complexities of maritime law, ensuring justice, and securing rightful compensation.
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What are The Most Common Injuries For Offshore Workers?
Offshore workers face a range of occupational hazards, leading to a variety of potential injuries. Here, we will highlight some of the most common injuries maritime workers experience, further emphasizing the inherently dangerous nature of offshore work.
- Slips and Falls – On a moving ship, wet and slippery surfaces can lead to falls, resulting in injuries ranging from minor sprains to severe head trauma or fractures.
- Burns – Working with heavy machinery, flammable substances, and hot surfaces can result in serious burn injuries.
- Crush Injuries – These injuries can occur when a worker gets caught or crushed between heavy equipment or other objects, causing significant damage to muscles, bones, and internal organs.
- Drowning – One of the most severe risks for offshore workers is the potential for overboard incidents leading to drowning.
- Exposure to Hazardous Substances – Offshore workers can often be exposed to harmful chemicals or substances, leading to acute and chronic health problems.
- Overuse Injuries – The physical demands of maritime work can lead to repetitive strain injuries, such as back injuries, joint problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Recognizing these common injuries underlines the high-risk nature of offshore work and the importance of being prepared and informed when accidents occur. It is important to know that if such an unfortunate event happens, Abraham Watkins has a proven track record of assisting maritime workers in navigating through their challenging times.
Injured Working Off-Shore? You Need the Right Off-Shore Accident Law Firm
With a rich history that dates back to 1951, Abraham Watkins has solidified its reputation as one of the most distinguished and accomplished law firms in Texas. Our team of experienced attorneys brings together an impressive legacy of success and a deep commitment to our clients. Our founders, including Frank Abraham and John Hill, have set a high standard for the practice of law, which is carried forward by our present team of skilled attorneys.
As a dedicated advocate for offshore workers, Abraham Watkins is deeply familiar with the unique hazards and legal complexities of maritime law. Our firm’s understanding of the intricate facets of the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, and other maritime laws is second to none. Our attorneys are skilled at navigating these complexities to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.
Our success is reflected not just in the multiple multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements we’ve won, but also in the respect we’ve earned from peers and clients alike. Our dedication to seeking justice for injured offshore workers has led to numerous awards, including recognition from National Trial Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and Super Lawyers. At Abraham Watkins, we’re not just attorneys; we’re advocates who tirelessly fight for the rights of those who have suffered injuries offshore.
What Should You Do if You Are Injured While Working Offshore?
If you find yourself injured while working offshore, the steps you take immediately following the incident can significantly impact your ability to receive the compensation you deserve. This process can be a highly stressful and confusing time, but following a clear set of guidelines can help ensure you protect your rights and interests.
Here are the crucial steps you should take:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Your health and well-being should be your top priority. Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s important to get immediate medical attention. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms until later, so obtaining a thorough medical evaluation is crucial. A medical evaluation also serves to officially document your injuries, which can be vital when seeking compensation.
Report the Accident
Promptly report the incident to your supervisor or the person in charge. This report should be done as soon as possible, preferably in writing. In your report, include all details of the accident, such as what happened, how it happened, where it happened, and any potential witnesses. This report will be a critical piece of evidence in your case.
Document the Incident
If possible, take pictures of your injuries and the accident site; this can provide valuable visual evidence of the conditions and circumstances around your injury. If there were any witnesses, get their contact information if possible. Their testimonies could be valuable in supporting your case.
Keep a Record of Your Medical Treatment and Expenses
You should keep a detailed record of all your medical treatments related to the injury. This record includes doctor visits, medications, therapy sessions, and any other related costs. These records can be crucial in determining the extent of your damages and the compensation you may be entitled to.
Do Not Sign Anything Without Legal Advice
In the aftermath of an injury, you might be approached by your employer or their insurance company with documents to sign. These could be statements, releases, or agreements that may not be in your best interest. Before signing anything, consult with a maritime lawyer to ensure you’re not waiving any of your rights.
Consult a Maritime Lawyer Houston Trusts
Maritime law is complex and unique. Therefore, it’s essential to consult with a lawyer who is experienced in this area of law. A skilled maritime lawyer will guide you through the legal process, fight for your rights, and help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Abraham Watkins, and our team of distinguished Texas litigators, can provide the dedicated legal help you need. We understand the intricacies of maritime law and have a track record of successful resolutions in personal injury lawsuits. Our experience, coupled with a reputation for exceptional legal talent, makes us a prime choice for those who have suffered an injury offshore.
Should I Trust My Company to Do the Right Thing?
It’s understandable that you may have faith in your employer to treat you fairly and appropriately following an offshore injury. After all, many maritime companies emphasize safety and well-being as core values. However, it’s essential to remember that companies, even those with the best intentions, have a vested interest in minimizing liability and controlling costs.
After a maritime injury, you may find your company’s interests conflicting with your own. Employers and their insurance companies often work quickly to investigate incidents, gathering evidence and statements that could potentially limit their liability. This process could involve offering a quick settlement, often far less than what you may be entitled to under maritime law, or even discouraging you from seeking legal advice.
Having a maritime law expert on your side is so crucial; they can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. Maritime law can be complex, and understanding the intricacies of the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and other relevant laws can be challenging.
Maritime Law for Offshore Workers -What Are My Rights if I Have Been Injured Offshore?
Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, provides unique protections for offshore workers injured on the job. The Jones Act, a central piece of maritime law, allows seamen injured due to employer negligence or unseaworthiness of the vessel to sue for damages. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act also extend protections and compensation rights to workers injured on offshore platforms and harbors, respectively.
Under maritime law, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even future earning capacity. You also have the right to ‘Maintenance and Cure,’ covering daily living costs and medical treatment irrespective of fault.
Detailed Look at Maritime Laws
Understanding the key maritime laws that protect offshore workers can provide critical insight into the protections and compensations available to you if you’re injured offshore. Here’s a deeper look at these laws:
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)
The OCSLA extends the protections of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to workers on offshore platforms on the Outer Continental Shelf. These protections include compensation for medical care and a portion of the worker’s regular wages. In addition, if a worker’s injury results in death, the Act provides benefits to the surviving spouse and children.
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)
The LHWCA provides workers’ compensation to maritime workers who are not seamen but are injured on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas used in loading, unloading, repairing, or building a vessel. It covers medical treatment, rehabilitation services, and compensation for lost wages. Should an injury lead to death, the Act provides survivor benefits to the worker’s dependents.
Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the Jones Act protects “seamen” who are injured in the course of their employment due to employer negligence or the unseaworthiness of the vessel. It allows these workers to bring a lawsuit against their employers, a right generally not available under traditional workers’ compensation laws. The Act covers pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and future earning potential.
Maintenance and Cure
This maritime doctrine obligates an employer to provide maintenance (daily living expenses) and cure (medical treatment) to a seaman injured in the service of a ship, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. This obligation continues until the seaman reaches maximum medical improvement.
Each of these maritime laws plays a critical role in protecting offshore workers and providing compensation in the event of an injury. These laws acknowledge the inherently dangerous nature of maritime work and aim to provide adequate protections and benefits for those injured on the job.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer With Maritime Law Experience?
Yes, it’s crucial to have a lawyer with maritime law experience when dealing with offshore injuries. Maritime law is a complex field with distinct laws and regulations that differ from standard personal injury law. These laws encompass international agreements, federal statutes, and a rich body of case law that applies specifically to waterborne activities.
An attorney with maritime law experience will understand the specifics of acts like the Jones Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and the doctrine of Maintenance and Cure. They can guide you through the complexities of these laws, ensuring your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
How Do I Know I’m Choosing the Right Maritime Lawyer?
Choosing the right offshore injury lawyer is a critical decision. Here are a few key criteria to consider:
- Experience in Maritime Law – Does the lawyer have a solid understanding of maritime laws and extensive experience representing offshore injury cases?
- Track Record – Has the attorney demonstrated a strong track record of success in offshore injury cases, including favorable verdicts and settlements?
- Recognition and Awards – Has the attorney earned recognition from peers, professional associations, and industry publications for their work in maritime law?
- Client Testimonials – What do previous clients say about their experience with the lawyer? Were they satisfied with the representation and outcome of their cases?
Abraham Watkins ticks all these boxes, offering unparalleled maritime law experience and a distinguished track record in handling maritime cases. With a legacy dating back to 1951, our firm has earned numerous awards and recognition for our work in maritime law.
Our dedicated team has secured multiple multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients, demonstrating our commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for those we represent. With Abraham Watkins, you can be confident you’re choosing the right Houston maritime attorney.
What Compensation Can Injured Maritime Workers Pursue Following an offshore accident?
If you’re an injured offshore worker, it’s important to understand the various forms of compensation you can recover under maritime law. Maritime laws, like the Jones Act (also known as the Merchant Marine Act), the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, and General Maritime Law, provide protection for offshore workers who sustain injuries in the course of their duties.
Injured workers can often recover medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. These laws also allow maritime workers to seek compensation for future loss of earning potential if a serious accident affects their ability to continue working offshore.
Non-Economic Damages Following a Maritime Accident
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for intangible losses that don’t have a specific monetary value, often following a maritime accident. These include aspects like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and in severe cases, loss of companionship or consortium.
Such damages are subjective and often vary case by case, considering the severity of the injury, the impact on the individual’s lifestyle, and the emotional toll. Obtaining non-economic damages can be challenging, making it crucial to have experienced legal counsel to accurately present these damages and advocate for your rightful compensation.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured While Working Offshore? FAQ
How can an experienced Houston personal injury lawyer help an injured worker navigate through a maritime accident claim?
An experienced offshore injury lawyer, like those at Abraham Watkins, can guide an injured worker through the complex process of a maritime accident claim. They can help you understand your rights, determine the best legal strategy, and work to maximize your compensation. Lawyers at Abraham Watkins are well-versed in the specific laws and regulations that govern offshore injuries, providing you with the expert legal assistance you need.
What does the Federal Employer’s Liability Act mean for offshore employees who suffer injuries while working offshore?
The Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) is designed to protect railroad workers, but its principles are often applied to offshore workers as well. Under FELA, employers are required to provide a safe work environment. If a worker is injured and can prove that the employer was at least partially negligent in providing a safe working environment, they can file a lawsuit for damages.
How much does representation from Abraham Watkins cost?
At Abraham Watkins, we understand that the financial burden of legal representation can be a concern for many individuals seeking justice after an accident or injury. That’s why we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that there are no upfront costs or retainer fees required. Our fees are contingent upon successfully securing a settlement or winning your case.
If we don’t win, you don’t pay. We believe this approach allows everyone, regardless of their financial situation, to access the legal help they need and deserve. During your free consultation, we can discuss the specific details of your case and provide further clarity on our fee structure.
Contact Abraham Watkins Immediately if You Have Been Injured While Working Offshore
Every offshore injury case is unique, with the potential for different types of damages. Therefore, it is highly recommended that injured maritime workers seek legal assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston who understands the complexities of these laws.
At Abraham Watkins, our offshore injury attorneys have a successful track record helping injured maritime workers navigate the legal complexities of their offshore injury cases. We offer a free consultation, helping you understand your rights and the compensation you’re entitled to following an offshore accident.
Whether you’re an oil rig worker, a merchant marine, or an employee on any offshore establishment, understanding your rights is essential. Federal law protects workers in the maritime industry, and a dedicated offshore injury attorney like those at Abraham Watkins can guide you through this often complex process to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured while working.Call us at 713-535-9319.
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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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