Crew members have a right to a safe environment, and rig/ship owners and operators have the burden of providing this safe environment. Negligence leading to injuries can be placed on either the employer or the operator. If you’ve been injured on a rig or ship, consult with a Miami offshore accident lawyer to see if you have a case and file an offshore injury claim.
Common Types Of Offshore Accident Injuries
Offshore accidents vary greatly, depending on whether you’re on an oil rig or a vessel. Severity is often high, with life-changing consequences, and there’s a risk of death in many circumstances. The type of accidents that are most common are:
- Slips and falls
- Falling objects
- Equipment-related incidents
When explosions occur, flying debris can be a significant risk, too. The injuries that stem from these accidents are:
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones or fractures
- Eye injuries
- Joint/tissue injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal injuries
All of these injuries can lead to a lifetime of pain, suffering, and lower quality of life. Brain, spinal and eye injuries are significant and can lead to a lifetime of therapy and disability. Dismemberment can also occur as a result of an explosion, too.
Joint, tissue, and muscle issues are often less serious, but they’re often accompanied by more significant issues, such as broken bones.
The extreme conditions of oil rigs and vessels often lead to severe injuries and potential death.
“Drilling oil and gas wells (NAICS 213111) averaged 34 fatal work injuries over the five-year period, with 37 percent of fatal work injuries resulting from contact with objects of equipment. Oil and Gas Extraction (NAICS 211111) had an average of 21 fatal work injuries,” claims The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nonfatal injuries are even more common than fatal accident statistics.
Many injuries also occur from carrying and lifting objects. Approximately 91% of injuries involve a limb, whether it be dismemberment, a broken bone or laceration.
Over 100+ Combined Years
Of Personal Injury Law Experience.
Choose A Team Of Lawyers That Know How To WIN
Who Is Responsible For An Offshore Accident Injury?
Workers aboard ships and vessels are all at-risk of an offshore accident injury, but most injuries occur to those that perform construction and maintenance. Responsibility for an accident depends on the events surrounding the incident. The Jones Act offers significant protections to employees, including the ability to sue an employer if an owner’s or crew member’s negligence causes:
The Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA) allows family members of someone who dies offshore to sue for funeral costs, medical bills and financial loss. Spouses, children or family members can sue for damages except for non-economic damages.
It’s important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible following an accident. Contractual limitations are often in place with varying provisions on how much time an employee has to file a claim.
Sometimes, the employee may even sign a contract that waives their right to some protections.
An arbitrator may be required to hear the case instead of a judge, for example. The benefit of an arbitrator for the employer is that there are fewer legal fees involved, and cases are settled faster than if they went in front of a judge.
What Are the Next Steps When Someone Is Injured in An Offshore Accident?
Your steps after an injury will help you recover faster and be able to seek compensation from your employer. The steps that you must follow are:
1. Seek Out Medical Attention
Offshore injuries are unique because you may have very limited medical care possibilities. The accident may have also disrupted communication and led to longer wait times to seek medical care.
Regardless of the situation, you must seek medical attention and not just “push through it.”
The earlier that you seek attention, the lower the risk that your actions lead to your injuries worsening. A timeline of the incident is also established, allowing your lawyer to have a stronger, evidence-based case.
2. Report the Injury to Your Employer
Employers should always be advised that the injury occurred as soon as possible. Making a report helps strengthen your case. If the accident was significant, such as an explosion or incident involving chemicals, your coworkers may report the injury.
It’s important for you, if it’s possible, to report the accident yourself.
Relying on others to make the report is ill-advised. If possible, write down the events that led to the accident.
3. Compile Information and Evidence
It’s in your employer’s best interest to avoid compensating you properly for your injuries. Compile any evidence that you can about the accident and any negligence that may have occurred.
If your employer asks you to sign anything, do not. It’s best to remain quiet and seek legal guidance immediately.