Working offshore is one of the most dangerous kinds of employment in the world. One of the most notable examples that shows the dangers of working offshore is the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The explosion killed several workers and injured many others.
Below, our experienced maritime lawyers have created a guide to some of the things you need to know about offshore injuries. We explain where they occur, some of the types of offshore injuries and legal recourse for injury victims.
Types of Offshore Accidents
The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is just one example of an accident that can occur in an offshore environment. Other types of offshore accidents include:
- Deck Accidents - This includes slip and fall accidents caused by slippery catwalks, unsecured ladders and wet surfaces. Workers can also lose hands or fingers in winches, cables or hoists. There are also injuries from falling objects and swinging cables.
- Equipment Failure - The offshore environment is harsher than the onshore one, which often leads to equipment breaking or malfunctioning and increasing the risk for injury. One of the common injuries from malfunctioning equipment is drowning, often caused by employees being knocked into the water.
- Fires and Explosions - Collisions between vessels can cause fuel tanks to rupture, creating a high risk for fires and explosions. Poorly maintained pumps increase the risk of oil spraying into exhaust systems, which could ignite and cause a fire that is difficult to control.
- Overuse Injuries - Employees can also suffer back injuries from lifting heavy objects. There is also a risk of soft-tissue damage from doing repetitive activities.
Types of Injuries that Often Occur Offshore
Offshore injuries can be quite severe, potentially having life-changing consequences, such as permanent disfigurement or disability. Many of these personal injuries are similar to what you would see happen on a construction site.
Examples of offshore injuries include:
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lost limbs
- Back injuries
- Wrist injuries
- Internal injuries
Where do Offshore Injuries Occur?
Offshore injuries can occur on any vessel or structure at sea, such as:
- Docks, piers and wharves
- Commercial fishing vessels
- Oil rigs
- Cargo ships
- Cruise ships
- Drill ships
- Semi-submersible ships
Do I Have Legal Options for an Offshore Injury?
There are different ways you may be able to pursue compensation depending on the circumstances of your injury.
Some workers are covered by Louisiana workers' compensation laws. If your injury falls under this system, you can file a claim and potentially recover compensation for medical expenses and lost earnings as you recover from your disability. If you think your injury is covered by workers' compensation, you need to notify your employer within 30 days of the injury.
Another potential way to obtain compensation is by filing a claim under the Longshore Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. This covers workers who work on, near or adjacent to navigable water and do a job that is related to the water or marine transport. This act offers compensation that is similar to what you would get from a workers' compensation claim.
If you work on a boat or other vessel out on the water, you are probably covered by the Jones Act. This law allows you to file a lawsuit against your employer if you can prove negligence contributed to your injury. You may be able to obtain the same types of damages as you would get in a personal injury claim, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and the cost of ongoing treatment.
Contact Our Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation
Have you suffered an offshore injury?
These can create a variety of long-term medical expenses that are difficult to afford, even if you have comprehensive health insurance. You may also miss time from work and have pain and suffering and other physical and mental issues from your injuries.
No matter the circumstances of your injury, you should strongly consider meeting with one of our maritime attorneys in Louisiana and Texas to discuss potential legal options. Our Baton Rouge injury attorneys may be able to obtain compensation for the damages you are experiencing.
We take cases on a contingency fee basis so your initial consultation is free and you will not be charged legal fees unless you receive compensation.
Schedule a free consultation by completing a Free Case Evaluation form.